Despite charges of cheap emotional manipulation by critics, at his peak, writer-producer Ronald Bass was indisputably one of the most prolific, influential and highest-paid screenwriters in Hollywood history. A former entertainment attorney, Bass began his career as a screenplay writer after landing a deal to pen "Code Name: Emerald" (1985), an adaptation of an earlier novel he had written. This led to more work, including the script for Francis Ford Coppola's "Gardens of Stone" (1987). Bass' career turning point came with his screenplay for the Tom Cruise/Dustin Hoffman box office smash "Rain Man" (1988), for which he won an Oscar. Projects such as "The Joy Luck Club" (1993) and "Waiting to Exhale" (1995) not only established Bass as one of film's leading writers of strong female characters, but also marked his entry into the role of producer, allowing for more creative control and a larger share of the profits. After the success of the Julia Roberts films "My Best Friend's Wedding" (1997) and "Stepmom" (1998), Bass' track record faltered somewhat, however, he remained very much in demand as an un-credited "script doctor" on dozens of films, including "Memoirs of a Geisha" (2005) and "Soul Surfer" (2011). Contrary to the old axiom that unappreciated writers are at the bottom of the Hollywood ladder, trampled by the studio system, Bass embraced the established power structure and excelled to such a degree that it placed him at the very pinnacle in terms of longevity, financial remuneration and power.