AUTHOR Neil Paterson, who won an Oscar for writing The Room at the Top

screenplay in 1960, has died at a Crieff nursing home after a long

illness. He was 79.

Despite his literary and film achievements, he still considered his

season as captain of Dundee United FC to be his greatest success.

The son of a solicitor, he was born in Greenock and grew up in Banff

before attending Edinburgh University, with the original intention of

following in his father's footsteps.

However, he left to pursue a career in journalism after gaining an MA

and, unable to get a job as a sports reporter, he became a sub-editor

with Thomson-Leng's magazine division in Dundee.

While there, he began to write short stories -- an interest that was

to continue after the Second World War and lead to his connection with

the movie industry.

Mr Paterson married in 1939 and served in the Navy as a lieutenant for

six years, narrowly avoiding death when his ship, the Venessa, was

bombed by the Luftwaffe.

At the end of the war he returned to Scotland and penned his first

novel, The China Run, which helped him win the Atlantic Award for

Literature. His next novel, Behold Thy Daughter, became an international

best-seller and was followed in the 1950s by And Delilah and Man on a

Tight Rope.

His story The Kidnappers published in 1957, was made into a film with

Duncan Macrae and was recently revived with Charlton Heston in the lead


Despite spending time working in Hollywood with screen legends like

Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, Mr Paterson was never tempted to move

from his Crieff home.

In later years, he became involved with the development of film and

the arts and was on the founding boards of Grampian Television and the

National Film School. He was Governor of British Film Institute and on

the boards of Scottish Arts Council, the Arts Council for Great Britain,

and Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

However, it was the 1936-37 football season with Dundee United, when

he became the first amateur in Britain to captain a professional side,

that he remembered most fondly.

Mr Paterson is survived by his wife, Rose, and children, Lynn, Kerr,

and John.