John Avildsen

Director, Screenwriter, Producer
Few directors experienced the career highs and lows like filmmaker John G. Avildsen, whose rsum included two of the most popular films ever made - 1976's "Rocky" and 1984's "The Karate Kid" - as well as scores of ... Read more »
Born: 12/21/1935 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Director (25)

Desert Heat 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

8 Seconds 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

The Power of One 1992 (Movie)

(Director)

Rocky V 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

Lean on Me 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

The Karate Kid Part III 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

For Keeps 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

Happy New Year 1987 (Movie)

(Director)

The Karate Kid Part II 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

Murder Ink 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Director

The Karate Kid 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

A Night in Heaven 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

Neighbors 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Traveling Hopefully 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

The Formula 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Slow Dancing in the Big City 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

Rocky 1976 (Movie)

(Director)

Foreplay 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

Save the Tiger 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

W. W. and the Dixie Dancekings 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

Okay Bill 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

The Stoolie 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

Joe 1970 (Movie)

(Director)

Cry Uncle 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

Guess What We Learned in School Today? 1969 (Movie)

(Director)
Editor (13)

The Power of One 1992 (Movie)

(Editor)

Rocky V 1990 (Movie)

(Editor)

Lean on Me 1989 (Movie)

(Editor)

The Karate Kid Part III 1989 (Movie)

(Editor)

For Keeps 1988 (Movie)

(Editor)

The Karate Kid Part II 1986 (Movie)

(Editor)

The Karate Kid 1984 (Movie)

(Editor)

A Night in Heaven 1983 (Movie)

(Editor)

Neighbors 1981 (Movie)

editor supervisor (Executive Editor)

The Formula 1979 (Movie)

(Editor)

Slow Dancing in the Big City 1978 (Movie)

(Editor)

Okay Bill 1971 (Movie)

(Editor)
Camera, Film, & Tape (7)

Slow Dancing in the Big City 1978 (Movie)

(Camera Operator)

Okay Bill 1971 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Stoolie 1971 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Joe 1970 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Cry Uncle 1969 (Movie)

(Photography)

Guess What We Learned in School Today? 1969 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Out of It 1969 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)
Producer (3)

Lean on Me 1989 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Slow Dancing in the Big City 1978 (Movie)

(Producer)

Out of It 1969 (Movie)

(Associate Producer)
Writer (3)

Traveling Hopefully 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Okay Bill 1971 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Guess What We Learned in School Today? 1969 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Actor (2)

The Directors 1998 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor
Production Management (1)

Hurry Sundown 1967 (Movie)

(Assistant Director)
Other (2)

Mickey One 1965 (Movie)

production manager assistant (Assistant)

Black Like Me 1964 (Movie)

(to Carl Lerner) (Assistant)

Biography

Few directors experienced the career highs and lows like filmmaker John G. Avildsen, whose résumé included two of the most popular films ever made - 1976's "Rocky" and 1984's "The Karate Kid" - as well as scores of misfires and abject failures. A former advertising manager, he entered film through the independent route in the early 1960s before making his first big splash with 1970's controversial "Joe." Subsequent efforts stumbled until he took on "Save the Tiger" (1973), a bleak look at the collapse of a businessman's life and self-esteem. Its Oscar win for star Jack Lemmon brought Avildsen to the attention of Hollywood, but it took the low-budget boxing drama "Rocky" to earn him an Oscar and industry respect. Unfortunately, he found it difficult to find worthy material in its wake; his few subsequent hits were cast in the mold of the Sylvester Stallone film, like "Karate Kid." However, the enduring popularity of both movies preserved Avildsen in the history books as a director with a unique skill for inspiring audiences through the triumphs of his underdog characters.

Relationships

Ivy Avildsen

Mother

Clarence Avildsen

Father

Anthony Avildsen

Son
mother, Tracy Brooks Swope

Ashley Avildsen

Son
mother, Miroslawa Prystay

Jonathan Avildsen

Son
mother, Tracy Brooks Swope

Miroslawa Prystay

Companion
one child together

Tracy Swope

Wife
married in February 1987

EDUCATION

New York University

New York , New York
took night classes

Milestones

1994

Directed "8 Seconds" the biopic of rodeo legend Lane Frost

1992

Edited and directed "The Power of One", set in South Africa

1990

Reunited with Sylvester Stallone as director of "Rocky V"

1989

Directed and co-edited "Lean on Me"

1984

Had commercial hit with "The Karate Kid"

1983

TV directing debut, "Murder Ink"

1976

Won Academy Award as Best Director for "Rocky"

1973

Scored first hit with "Save the Tiger", starring Jack Lemmon

1969

Screenwriting debut (written with Eugene Price), "Guess What We Learned in School Today?"; also directed, edited and shot

1968

First feature as director and director of photography, "Turn on to Love"

1965

Was assistant director on "Mickey One", directed by Arthur Penn

1964

Served as assistant to Carl Lerner on set of "Black Like Me"

1963

Acting debut, "Greenwich Village Story"

1959

Served two years in US Army as chaplain's assistant

1959

Worked as an advertising manager at Vespa Motor Scooters

Helmed the sequels "The Karate Kid, Part II" (1986) and "The Karate Kid, Part III" (1989)

Directed industrial films for IBM and Clairol; produced, photographed and edited several short films, "Smiles" and "Lights - Sound - Diffuse"

Worked in advertising agency writing and producing TV commercials

Bonus Trivia

.

In 1983, Judge Hortense Gabel approved a contract under which Avildsen would give his estranged lover, model Miroslawa Prystay, a lump sum and five years of child support for their son Ashley under a NY law which allows fathers to cut compromise deals over illegitimate children.

.

In January 1993, NY Supreme Court Justice Shirley Fingerhood decided that Avildsen had purposefully inflicted emotional distress on Prystay by putting the child support money he owed her in escrow and suing her for requesting a check one month early. The former model testified that she had suffered "phlebitis, significant hair loss, and constant stress" and that she and the boy Ashley had to go on welfare.

.

Avildsen was at one time announced as the director of "Serpico" (1973)

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