Entertainment & Arts

David R Ellis, director of Snakes on a Plane, dies

David R Ellis, pictured in 2009
Image caption Ellis's last directorial effort was 2011's Shark Night 3D

David R Ellis, the former stuntman who later enjoyed success as the director of 2006 release Snakes on a Plane, has died in South Africa at the age of 60.

The news was confirmed on Monday by the film-maker's manager. No cause of death has been released.

Ellis, a former actor, was found in a hotel room in Johannesburg, where he had been working on his new film Kite.

Actor Samuel L Jackson, who was to have starred in the film, said he was "gone too soon" and would be missed.

"So sad to hear of David R Ellis passing," the Pulp Fiction star tweeted. "So talented, so kind, such a good friend."

Jackson worked with Ellis on Snakes on a Plane, an airborne action thriller that generated a cult following solely on the basis of its title.

The director's other movies included Final Destination 2, 2009's The Final Destination and 2011's Shark Night 3D.

Ellis began his Hollywood career as a child actor in the 1970s before moving into stunts and directing.

His credits as a second unit director included the first Harry Potter movie, The Matrix Reloaded and Kevin Costner's Waterworld.

Ellis recently worked on the Keanu Reeves film 47 Ronin and the Ryan Reynolds release R.I.P.D, both of which are awaiting release.

The director, who was once a junior professional surfer, is survived by his wife and three children.

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