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`Jaws` producer Richard D Zanuck dies

Los Angeles: Legendary producer Richard D Zanuck, who was behind some of Hollywood`s biggest movies like `Jaws`, `Alice in Wonderland` and `Driving Miss Daisy`, died of a heart attack at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 77.

Regarded one of the most influential and progressive producers in Hollywood, Zanuck suffered a fatal cardiac arrest at his home in Beverly Hills yesterday.

Apart from his wife Lili Fini, Zanuck is survived by sons Harrison and Dean and nine grandchildren, a leading daily has said.

Zanuck was the the son of famed 20th Century Fox head Darryl Zanuck and started his career there by working on films like `The Sound of Music` and `The Chapman Report`.

His father was forced to fire his son from the studio in 1970 following pressure from the board of directors. The decision soured father-son relationship but the young producer managed to clear his differences with his legendary father before his death.

After working at Warner Bros for some time, Zanuck founded a company with David Brown and produced `The Sting` in 1973 as well as Steven Spielberg`s first feature film `The Sugarland Express`, in 1974 and `Jaws` in 1975, which became the first film to cross USD 100 million at the box office.

Spielberg said he had forged a great friendship with Zanuck, who taught him everything about producing a film.

"In 1974, Dick Zanuck and I sat in a boat off Martha`s Vineyard and watched the mechanical shark sink to the bottom of the sea. Dick turned to me and smiled. `Gee, I sure hope that`s not a sign.` That moment forged a bond between us that lasted nearly 40 years," Spielberg said in a statement.

"He (Zanuck) taught me everything I know about producing. He was one of the most honorable and loyal men of our profession, and he fought tooth and nail for his directors. Dick Zanuck was a cornerstone of our industry, both in name and in deed."

In 1988, Zanuck teamed with his third wife to establish the Zanuck Co and their debut film was `Driving Miss Daisy` in 1992. Along with four Oscars, the film captured several other top honors: a Golden Globe award, the National Board of Review Award and Producer of the Year honors from the Producers Guild of America.

They followed up with the critically acclaimed `Rush` and later went on to produce `Cocoon`, `Deep Impact`, `True Crime`.

Zanuck`s other production credits include `Rich in Love`, `Planet of the Apes`, `The Road to Perdition`, `Charlie and the Chocolate Factory`, `Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street`, `Yes Man",

Zanuck and his wife also produced the 72nd Annual Academy Awards telecast in 2000.

PTI

From Zee News

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