Phillip A. Watson


Phillip A. Watson, an attorney and an author, died Saturday, Dec. 8, in New York. He was 78. He lived in New York and spent summers with his wife, Cassandra Hopkins Watson, in Northeast Harbor.

Phil was raised in Charleston, W.Va. He graduated from Yale University in 1962 with a degree in engineering and the University of Virginia School of Law in 1965 after completing a curricula in international law at the University of Adelaide in South Australia. He began work as an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in 1965, and in 1977 began a long career at The Singer Co., where he became general counsel and senior vice president in 1986. He traveled extensively all over the world for Singer.

At the encouragement of his daughter, he took an online course from the New School in playwriting and enjoyed it so much that, after retiring from Singer, he went on to complete certificates in TV and feature film writing from UCLA. He received a number of screenwriting awards, including “Best Action Adventure” script at the Gotham Film Festival in 2012. He published an action adventure novel, “The Gods of Death,” in 2014, set in 210 BC China, which he adapted from that screenplay.

While he had a long, successful career, he also loved travel and adventure. He and Cassandra spent 20 years living in Wilson, Wyo., and traveling at home, and to Europe, Asia and the Pacific. When not traveling, he’d break up long hours working in his home by strapping on his snowshoes and setting off with his beloved dogs or getting in a couple of runs at the mountain, and come home to work again. He was an avid hiker and loved mountain biking in the Tetons and on the carriage roads on Mount Desert. He had a quiet, insightful sense of humor and a generous heart. Besides his wife, Cassandra Hopkins Watson, of New York and Northeast Harbor, he is survived by his son, Ian Holbrook Watson of Winchester, Mass., and daughter, Sarah Styrons Watson of Brooklyn, N.Y., a stepdaughter, Elizabeth Denny Oneglia of New York, and eight grandchildren. He will be missed by his extended Hopkins and Watson families.