Best remembered for writing the Hal Ashby-directed black comedy, "Harold and Maude" (1971), Higgins' scripts have ridden the wave of cultural trends or made reference to past masters of the genre. He endured five lean years before scoring again with the original screenplay "Silver Streak" (1976) a comedy adventure directed by Arthur Hiller and starring Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder and Jill Clayburgh. For the chance to direct his next screenplay, "Foul Play" (1978), he sold it to Paramount for a cut rate. The detective comedy starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn was a box office hit and consolidated Higgins' reputation. There was no denying that both scripts owed more than a little to Alfred Hitchcock. He went on to co-script and direct the Dolly Parton vehicles "9 to 5" (1980) and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" (1982), both of whose story lines gave women the upper hand in the ongoing battle of the sexes.