Steven Tesich made a name for himself in Hollywood after he won an Oscar for his script for Breaking Away, a story of bicycle racing, rivalry, and small-town youths coming of age. Set in Bloomington IN, the story was close to Tesich, for he, too, had been passionate about biking during his college days at Indiana University, Bloomington. Other notable Tesich screenplays include his adaptation of John Irving's The World According to Garp (1982) and Eyewitness (1981). Born Stoyan Tesich in Yugoslavia, he was raised by his mothers and sisters in the country as his father, a rebellious soldier who opposed Marshall Tito's Communist regime, had fled to the United States. In 1957, his father sent for them and the 14-year-old found himself in East Chicago, IN, speaking not a word of English. He learned quickly and after high school attended Indiana U. on a wrestling scholarship, but he abandoned it after discovering bicycle racing. While at school, Tesich majored in Russian literature and later entered a Ph.d. program at Columbia University. Discovering that he had a knack for writing, Tesich abandoned academics to become a playwright. His first produced play, The Carpenters, was staged at the American Place Theater in 1971 as were several of his subsequent works. Tesich's first Broadway play, Division Street, was a flop, as was his final Broadway effort The Speed of Darkness. Tesich switched his focus to films during the 1980s. In 1982, he published a novel, Summer Crossing. Tesich's final screenplay was an adaptation of his second novel, American Flyers, and was released in 1985. On July 1, 1996, Tesich died of heart failure while on a family vacation in Sydney, Nova Scotia.