Richard D. Zanuck, Hollywood Producer Whose Films Include Adaptations From Stage, Dead at 77

News   Richard D. Zanuck, Hollywood Producer Whose Films Include Adaptations From Stage, Dead at 77
Richard D. Zanuck, a scion of famed Hollywood producer Darryl F. Zanuck who became a successful producer in his own right, died July 13 at his Beverly Hills home. He was 77.

Among Mr. Zanuck's many films were Steven Spielberg’s first feature film, "The Sugarland Express," and his first blockbuster (indeed, the first modern blockbuster of any kind), "Jaws." His other credits included "The Sting," which won an Oscar as Best Picture, and six movies directed by Tim Burton, including this year's "Dark Shadows." Darryl Zanuck co-founded 20th Century Fox and his son grew up in the studio. His summers away from school were spent working in every different studio department and, in 1962, his father appointed him Fox's production chief. Three years earlier, Darryl Zanuck had arranged for his son to produce his first film, "Compulsion." During Richard's reign, the studio produced the phenomenally successful musical "The Sound of Music," as well as "Patton" and "The French Connection." But daddy Darryl fired his son in a 1970 shake-up. The two became estranged until the elder Zanuck's death in 1979.

In 1970, Mr. Zanuck moved to Warner Brothers, and in 1971 formed the Zanuck/Brown Company with David Brown. Productions included "Cocoon" and its sequel, "The Verdict" and "Target." When the company dissolved, Mr. Zanuck formed the Zanuck Company, which producer the film version of the play "Driving Miss Daisy," a hit that won the Oscar for Best Picture. Thereafter, he leaned toward films piloted by auteurs like Burton, Clint Eastwood and Walter Hill. Later films included the musical "Sweeney Todd," "Wild Bill," "Mulholland Falls," "True Crime," "Road to Perdition" and "Big Fish."

He is survived by his wife, Lili Fini Zanuck; his sons Harrison and Dean, who have produced movies; and nine grandchildren.

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