'Jaws' producer Richard D Zanuck dies

'Jaws' producer Richard D Zanuck dies

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 influencial 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, the Hollywood Reporter 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 sometime, 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.

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