Robert Towne (born Robert Bertram Schwartz; November 23, 1934) is an American screenwriter and director. His most notable work may be his Academy Award-winning original screenplay for Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974).
Towne’s parentage was Romanian on his mother’s side, Russian on his father’s. He grew up in San Pedro, Los Angeles, the son of Helen and Lou Schwartz. His father ran a ladies clothing shop called the Towne Smart Shop, and changed the family name to Towne. Lou then moved into real estate and moved his family to the affluent Rolling Hills, a gated community in Palos Verdes, where Robert attended Chadwick School. Robert has a brother Roger, who is six years younger. He is married to Luisa Gaule. His former father-in-law is late actor John Payne, star of the western series, The Restless Gun. Towne's daughter (with actress Julie Payne) is Katharine Towne. He is a former father-in-law of Charlie Hunnam.
He is a graduate of Pomona College in Claremont, California.