Richard D. "Dick" Zanuck, a scion of old Hollywood who produced blockbusters like Jaws and such Oscar-friendly fare as Driving Miss Daisy, died today after suffering a heart attack. He was 77. Zanuck took the production reins of 20th Century Fox — which his legendary father Darryl had helped bring to prominence before him — by the time he was 28. He would later team with partner David Brown to shepherd the work of Steven Spielberg to prominence before working with a deep roster of filmmakers including Sidney Lumet (The Verdict), Ron Howard (Cocoon) and frequent collaborator Tim Burton. Zanuck is survived by his wife Lili Fini Zanuck (with whom he shared Best Picture Oscar honors for Driving Miss Daisy) and sons Harrison and Dean. [Deadline]
Tragic, shocking news out of New York just now: Adam Yauch — a.k.a. MCA, one-third of rap legends the Beastie Boys, influential filmmaker and music-video director, and founder of independent-film distributor Oscilloscope Laboratories — has died following his long battle with cancer. He was 47.
Sad news out of Manhattan: Amos Vogel, whose championing of foreign and independent film changed the direction of modern cinema over the last half-century, has passed away. He was 91. Vogel's Cinema 16 events, introduced in 1947, battled censors and opened viewers' eyes to the likes of Roman Polanski, Yasujirō Ozu, Robert Bresson, John Cassavetes and scores of other auteurs — in some cases before the word "auteur" meant anything. He also co-founded the New York Film Festival, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary as the city's leading light of movie culture.
"Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision Star Wars. His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy. When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s fabulous illustrations and say, 'Do it like this.'" [via WSJ]
We were just talking about Scenes From a Marriage, too: The Swedish actor-writer-director Erland Josephson has died following a protracted battle with Parkinson's Disease. He was 88. Josephson came to prominence as a friend, theater colleague and eventual ensemble player for the great Ingmar Bergman, finally breaking into the leading-man ranks in the filmmaker's seminal relationship epic Scenes before eventually diversifying with roles in films by Peter Greenaway (Prospero's Books), Philip Kaufman (The Unbearable Light of Being) and, most indelibly, Andrei Tarkovsky, who cast Josephson in his 1986 masterpiece The Sacrifice. Very sad. R.I.P. [NYT]
This is just terrible, terrible news: Former United Artists boss, October Films cofounder and recent appointee as S.F. Film Society executive director Bingham Ray has passed away following a series of strokes suffered while attending the Sundance Film Festival -- an event from which his name and influence have been inseparable for more than two decades. He was 57.