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Writer Paul Attanasio was a film critic for The Washington Post from 1984 to 1987. He started writing for television with the CBS sitcom Doctor Doctor and the NBC crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street. In 1994 he turned to feature films to write several Oscar-nominated screenplay adaptations: the drama Quiz Show (book by Richard Goodwin), the thrillers Disclosure and Sphere (books by Michael Crichton), the gangster movie Donnie Brasco (book by Joseph Pistone), and the political thriller The Sum of All Fears (book by Tom Clancy). Working back in television, he started executive producing in addition to writing the medical drama Gideon's Crossing and the pilot for R.U.S.H.

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