Lonne Elder III was an American actor, playwright, and screenwriter. He was one of the first African Americans to be nominated for an Academy Award for Writing, for Sounder, his film adaptation of the novel by William H. Armstrong. Other screenplays include Runaway, Bustin' Loose, and Melinda. He was well-known for promoting the cause of feminism for African-American women—his screenplay, A Woman Called Moses, is an example of this.
As a Broadway actor, Elder starred as Bobo in A Raisin in the Sun (Ethel Barrymore Theatre) but soon found his skills in playwriting.
His first and most well-known play, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, was a Drama Desk Award winner for Most Promising Playwright (St. Mark's Playhouse). Elder adapted this work for a screenplay and the film was influential in depicting the realities of African-American survival in New York City. Other Off-Broadway theatre works include Splendid Mummer (American Place Theatre).