He passed away in Los Angeles following a short illness, reports website Ain't It Cool News.
O'Bannon attended USC film school in the early '70s where he met director John Carpenter. The pair worked together on Carpenter's debut feature Dark Star, which O'Bannon co-wrote, edited, served as special effects supervisor and acted in the role of Sgt Pinback.
He worked on the visual effects team on Star Wars before switching his efforts to screenwriting full time with the initial script for Alien, titled Star Beast, which he penned with Ronald Shusett.
O'Bannon's credits also include Blue Thunder, Screamers, Bleeders and horror movies The Return Of The Living Dead and The Resurrected, which he also directed.
He is survived by his wife Diane Louise Lindley and their son Adam.