Longtime drug reform advocate and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Mike Gray has died, his friends announced Wednesday. He was 78 years old.
Gray, a Los Angeles resident who penned the original screenplay for "The China Syndrome" and authored several books, including "Drug Crazy: How We Got Into This Mess and How We Can Get Out" and "Washington's War on Drugs," had been working on a documentary about the former black panther Robert E. Lee III at the time of his death.
"Mike Gray was brilliant," a statement from independent video archive Media Burn read. "A journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker, steadfast in his beliefs and and absolutely creative every day of his life."
Throughout his lifetime, Gray was an outspoken opponent of America's drug war, and most recently addressed the California National Organization for the Reform of Drug Laws (NORML) conference in January.
"In 2008, Mike and I toasted to seeing the end of cannabis prohibition at the NORML conference in Berkeley," said Dale Gieringer, the director of California's NORML chapter. "Sadly for Mike, his friends, and the nation, he didn't live to see it."
Gray is survived by his wife Carol, a public radio reporter, and his son Lucas, an artist for "The Simpsons."