Carlen - who wrote the screenplay for Nicolas Cage's directorial debut, 2002 film Sonny - passed away on 10 December (09) in San Diego, California. He suffered a stroke on 5 December (09) at his home in Rosarito Beach, Mexico.
His first Hollywood job was a technical advisor on 1978 film, Straight Time, starring Dustin Hoffman.
He also wrote the screenplay for U.S. made-for-TV movie Thompson's Last Run, starring Robert Mitchum and Wilford Brimley.
Carlen is survived by two brothers.