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Filmmaker Richard Fleischer Dies

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Mar 27, 2006 | 8:51am EST

Veteran director Richard Fleischer died Saturday of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Los Angeles. He was 89.

The 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea moviemaker's death has sparked a flurry of tributes from Hollywood's finest--including California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who worked with Fleischer on 1984's Conan the Destroyer.

Schwarzenegger says, "(He was) a true Hollywood legend. He was a man of great talent and an extraordinary director."

Fleischer was born into a showbiz family--his father, Max Fleischer, was the animator behind Betty Boop and Popeye.

Starting off making B-movies in the late 1940s, Fleischer quickly made a name for himself, going on to direct hits including Tora! Tora! Tora!, the Charles Bronson-starring Mr. Majestyk, and Doctor Dolittle with Rex Harrison--although he admitted the famously unpopular Harrison needed "a swift kick in the head."

Fleischer is survived by his wife Mary, their three children and five grandchildren.

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