From AP:

Spanish Scriptwriter Rafael Azcona Dies MADRID, Spain (AP) — Spanish novelist and scriptwriter Rafael Azcona, known for films such as the Oscar-winning comedy "Belle Epoque" and Luis Garcia Berlanga's "The Executioner," has died. He was 81.

Azcona, who had been suffering from lung cancer, died at his home on Sunday, the Spanish Writers and Editors Society said. He was cremated Tuesday in Madrid.

"He leaves the world of cinema and literature without one of its best storytellers," Spain's Culture Minister Cesar Antonio Molina said.

Born Oct. 24, 1926, in the northern city of Logrono, Azcona wrote for humor magazines such as "El Cordorniz" before making his name with the film script based on his black comedy novel "El Pisito" (The Little Apartment), directed by Italy's Marco Ferreri in 1959.

He went on to work with directors such as Luis Berlanga and Carlos Saura. He teamed up with director Fernando Trueba in "Belle Epoque," which won an Academy Award for best foreign film in 1992.

"He was one of the greatest writers in European cinema, not just Spanish cinema," Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, president of Spain's Cinema Academy, told the newspaper El Pais. "No one has reached his imaginative capacity, intellectual rigor and brilliance."

He won six Spanish Goya film awards, including one for lifetime achievement in 1998.

He also was granted with the National Cinema Award in 1982 and Spain's Fine Arts Gold Medal in 1994.

He is survived by his wife, Susi.

Ferreri and Azcona in Naples, 1963