Iconoclastic writer-director-producer-actor William Richert became known as an uncompromising Hollywood outsider, who despite daunting odds, managed to helm a small number of uniquely personal films. After receiving his start in television and theater, Richert launched his career with the documentaries "Derby" (1971) and "First Position" (1972). His second effort as a feature film director, the conspiracy thriller "Winter Kills" (1979), became more notorious for its absurd, scandalous road to completion than for its modest legacy as an overlooked cult classic. He went on to direct the late River Phoenix in the 1960s coming-of-age drama "A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon" (1988), which was based on a novel Richert had written at the age of 19. Much of Richert's late-career credits were as an actor, such as his reteaming with Phoenix onscreen for Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho" (1991). Other projects included mounting a low-budget version of "The Man in the Iron Mask" (1998), for which he served as writer, director and supporting player. In retrospect, the paucity of commercially successful works over the course of Richert's 30-plus year career belied a man firmly committed to his craft and the art of filmmaking, albeit on his own terms.