PRODUCER OF JAWS, COCOON, DRIVING MISS DAISY, PLANET OF APES, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, DIES
Prolific producer Richard D. Zanuck, who won an Oscar for his 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy, and whose other films were some of the most admired releases of the past 50 years, has died of a heart attack in Los Angeles at the age of 77. He was the son of Daryl F. Zanuck, the legendary head of 20th Century Fox from its birth in the 1930s until his forced exit in 1971. (The elder Zanuck also died at the age of 77, in 1979.) Installed by his father as president of the studio in the 1960s, Zanuck oversaw the production of a series of flops so numerous that his father fired him. In 1972, he formed the independent production company Zanuck/Brown with David Brown, which launched with the production of two hit films with the then-unknown director Steven Spielberg, The Sugarland Express in 1974 and Jaws in 1975. Zanuck and Brown would go on to produce a series of hit films, including the two Cocoon movies and, in 1989, Driving Miss Daisy, for which they received received the best-picture Oscar. In more recent years, Zanuck produced such box-office winners as the 2001 version of Planet of the Apes, 2005′s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and two of the most successful films of 2010, Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans. He made six films with director Tim Burton, including this year’s Dark Shadows, which performed admirably at the box office ($234 million worldwide) but received mixed reviews.