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A decorated Marine veteran, Broyles had established himself in the world of journalism before he moved into TV and films. After graduating from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and postgraduate studies at Oxford, he went on to become founding editor of Texas Monthly magazine. Under Broyles' stewardship, Texas Monthly received four National Magazine Awards and his success led to positions as editor-in-chief at California and Newsweek. He had also contributed articles to various publications including Esquire, Atlantic Monthly and U.S. News and World Report.
In 1984, Broyles made a return trip to Vietnam and recounted his experiences in the acclaimed book "Brothers in Arms: A Journey From War to Peace" (1986). He was interviewed in the documentary "Faces of the Enemy" (PBS, 1987), about the psychology of warfare. The following year, he and John Sacret Young co-created, co-wrote and co-executive produced the acclaimed series "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-91), which focused on the personnel at an evacuation hospital and USO Center as a US base at Da Nang. Broyles and Young followed with the less successful spy drama "Under Cover" (ABC, 1991). On his own, Broyles turned Patrick Hamilton's biography of the early life of John F Kennedy into the miniseries "JFK: Reckless Youth" (ABC, 1993). Segueing to the big screen, Broyles and Al Reinert adapted another memoir, Jim Lovell's "Dark Moon," for Ron Howard. "Apollo 13" (1995), recounting the doomed 1970 NASA mission, won critical praise and earned several Oscar nominations, including one for Broyles and Reinert's script.
The scriptwriter subsequently received screen credit (along with Ronald Bass) on the caper romance "Entrapment" (1999), which caused some controversy over the age difference in its leads Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Some critics carped about the film's wild plot and action sequences while others were more accepting because of the tone achieved by the screenplay and Jon Amiel's direction. Broyles fared much better with the "Cast Away" (2000), his reunion with "Apollo 13" star Tom Hanks. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, "Cast Away" featured Hanks in a tour de force as a Federal Express employee who survives a plane crash and washes up on a deserted island. Although there were obvious problems in the third act (when the man returns home after a four-year absence), "Cast Away" earned generally favorable reviews and proved to be a box-office smash. Broyles next teamed with another visionary director -- Tim Burton -- for the remake of "Planet of the Apes" (2001).
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