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Richard D Zanuck (1934 – 2012)

Legendary film producer, Richard D Zanuck died from a heart attack in Los Angeles on 13 July 2012, aged 77.

 Born on 13 December 1934, he began his long career in the movies by following in the footsteps of his father, Twentieth Century-Fox boss and co-founder, Darryl F Zanuck. Aged 24, Richard received his first credit as producer on Richard Fleischer’s crime thriller, Compulsion (1959), and four years later his father appointed him Head of Production at Fox. There, he oversaw the making of award winners including The Sound of Music (1965), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and M*A*S*H (1970), but some costly and less successful releases caused his father to oust him after eight years at the studio helm.

 For much of the next forty-plus years, Dick Zanuck worked as an independent producer, first in partnership with David Brown (1916 – 2010). Z/B hired a young Steven Spielberg to direct The Sugarland Express (1974) and the original summer blockbuster, Jaws (1975), cementing Spielberg’s career as a consummate filmmaker. Later, Zanuck produced many Tim Burton fantasies including Planet of the Apes (2001), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Alice In Wonderland (2010) and most recently Dark Shadows (2012).

 He tirelessly produced or exec-produced a host of other movies, for example Jaws 2 (1978), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Road to Perdition (2002) and Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans, for which he attended the London premiere in spring 2010.