Richard Zanuck, Legendary Film Producer, Dead at 77

ALTRichard Zanuck, the independent producer who helped usher in such films as Jaws and Driving Miss Daisy has died today from a heart attack at his Beverly Hills home. He was 77.

Zanuck (or Dick as he was known to close friends) was the only son of 20th Century Fox co-founder and original head of production Darryl Zanuck; a company that he would work with, both in executive roles, and on a contract, for many years. His work with director Steven Spielberg at his Zanuck/Brown Company launched Spielberg’s career and brought Zanuck the opportunity work on several other major films, including Cocoon, The Sting, and Road to Perdition. He also brought Fox it’s first big studio success with The Sound of Music.

Often noted as a “director’s producer” by Spielberg, he also championed many of the films of Tim Burton, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland and most recently Dark Shadows.

Revered by many in the community, his loss was felt by several notable figures, including actor Rob Lowe who tweeted today: “Sorry to hear of the passing of a legend and true gentleman, Dick Zanuck. If there was a Mount Rushmore of producers he’d be ALL the faces.” He is survived by not only his incredibly cinematic legacy, but his wife, children, and several grandchildren.