Hollywood producer Richard Zanuck dies

The BBC's Peter Bowes looks back over Zanuck's distinguished career

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Prolific Hollywood producer Richard Zanuck has died aged 77 after a heart attack at his Beverly Hills home.

Dick Zanuck, as most people knew him, was best known for his work on such films as The Sound of Music, Driving Miss Daisy and Jaws.

Son of Hollywood royalty, he became the youngest studio head in history when he took over 20th Century Fox aged 28.

His friend Steven Spielberg called him a "cornerstone of the film industry".

Dick Zanuck's parents were the legendary movie mogul Darryl Zanuck and actress Virginia Fox.

After his father made him 20th Century Fox's head of production, the younger Zanuck went on to oversee the release of some of the era's classics, including The Sound of Music and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

He went on to run his own production company after several big-screen musicals for Fox flopped and his father fired him, spending most of his career as an independent producer.

Zanuck collaborated with Spielberg on the blockbuster Jaws and several other films.


"He taught me everything I know about producing," Spielberg said in a statement.

"He was one of the most honourable and loyal men of our profession and he fought tooth and nail for his directors."

His 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy won four Oscars, including best picture for Zanuck and his wife and collaborator Lili Fini Zanuck.

In his later years Zanuck collaborated closely with director Tim Burton on a number of films, including Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland.

Burton said he was "in shock and heartbroken", adding: "He was like family to me - a mentor, friend and father figure".

Actor and director Clint Eastwood also paid tribute. "A lot of producers are producers in name only," he said. "[Dick] was the real deal."

Zanuck travelled to the UK earlier this year to help promote Tim Burton's most recent film, the supernatural comedy Dark Shadows.

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