LOS ANGELES — Oscar-winning US film producer Richard Zanuck, famous for films including “Jaws,” “Driving Miss Daisy” and a string of Tim Burton movies, died Friday aged 77, his publicist said.
The Hollywood veteran, son of Twentieth Century Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck, worked with Burton on films from 2001’s “Planet of the Apes” remake to 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland,” as well as his latest film, “Dark Shadows.”
He won an Oscar in 1990 for “Driving Miss Daisy,” and another prize from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the following year.
Zanuck died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, his publicist said in a statement.
Hollywood icon Steven Spielberg, director of 1975 classic “Jaws,” once described Zanuck as “a director’s producer,” according to industry daily Variety.
“He always feels his job is to protect the director. Having run a studio for many years, he understood the corporate pressure put on filmmakers and yet he still turned out to be the filmmaker’s best friend,” Spielberg said.
The daily cited Burton as having praised Zanuck’s “calming influence’ while making 2005’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” “I’ve worked with a lot of people who like to create chaos so they can solve the chaos,” he said.
“He’s not one of those people. It’s amazing that someone who’s been through as much as he’s been through remains as passionate and optimistic about the whole thing,” he added.
Zanuck is survived by his wife Lili Fini Zanuck, sons Harrison and Dean and nine grandchildren, his publicist said.
Photo AFP/File, Scott Flynn