Oscar-Winning ‘Rocky’ Director dies

Sat 17 June 2017 06:54 GMT | 10:54 Local Time

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The Los Angeles Times reported that Avildsen’s eldest son said the director had pancreatic cancer.

John G. Avildsen, who won the Best Director Oscar for 1977’s Best Picture winner Rocky that introduced the world to Sylvester Stallone, and who later helmed three Karate Kid movies, has died in Los Angeles. He was 81.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Avildsen’s eldest son said the director had pancreatic cancer.

Avildsen, who started in the business as a cinematographer, broke into directing with movies like 1970’s Joe starring Peter Doyle and then Save The Tiger, which won Jack Lemmon a Best Actor Oscar in 1974. Three years later, he took on a script from Stallone and made Rocky, which also earned Stallone a Best Actor Oscar nom and launched one of moviedom’s most iconic franchises. The pair later reunited for 1990’s Rocky V.

Said Stallone: “I owe just about everything to John Avildsen. His directing, his passion, his toughness and his heart – a great heart – is what made Rocky the film it ultimately became.

He changed my life and I will be forever indebted to him. Nobody could have done it better than my friend John Avildsen. I will miss him.”

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