David Seidler, Oscar-Winning Writer of ‘The King’s Speech,’ Dies at 86

David Seidler, Oscar-Winning Writer of ‘The King’s Speech,’ Dies at 86

Mr. Seidler told the site filmcritic.com that his parents, aiming to inspire him, tuned the family radio to George VI’s speeches during the war as object lessons of mastering a stutter.

“They would say to me, ‘David, he was a much worse stutterer than you, and listen to him now. He’s not perfect. But he can give these magnificent, stirring addresses that rallied the free world,’” Mr. Seidler said.

At 16, he recalled, he had a “profanity-laden, F-bomb-filled emotional catharsis” like one that King George, who was known as “Bertie,” his childhood nickname, experiences in the film. “I thought that if I’m stuck with stuttering, you’re all stuck with listening with me,” he told The Times, inserting an expletive.

Soon after, his stutter faded away in conversations.

David Seidler was born on Aug. 4, 1937 in London, to Doris (Falkoff) Seidler, a painter and printmaker, and Bernard Seidler, a fur broker. He graduated from Cornell University in 1959. He is survived by two adult children, Marc and Maya Seidler.

The screenplay of “The King’s Speech” gestated with Mr. Seidler for decades. In interviews, he said he had set the project aside for years until after the death in 2002 of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, widow of George VI, who had asked him not to pursue it in her lifetime.

In a 2011 interview with The Times, he compared the process of drawing on his experiences as a stutterer to remembering from afar a bad toothache.

“While you’ve got the toothache it’s all you think about, but as soon as you go to the dentist, and he or she takes away the pain, the last thing you want to think about was how that tooth ached,” he said. “You put it away from your mind and forget about it. The same with stuttering. So it was only by waiting until I had reached the stage of … let me use the euphemism maturity … when by nature you start to look back on your life anyway, that it allowed me to revisit that pain, that sense of isolation and loneliness, which I think helped the script immensely.”

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