Avildsen, Dead at 81

17 June, 2017, 11:22 | Author: Miranda Cannon
  • Rocky’ and ‘Karate Kid’ director John G. Avildsen dead at age 81

Avildsen had been battling pancreatic cancer, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Stallone, who also worked with Avildsen in "Rocky V", took to Instagram to pay tribute to the veteran filmmaker.

"The great director John G. Avildsen who won the Oscar for directing Rocky", Stallone captioned a behind-the-scenes picture of them on set. His iconic "Rocky", which won the DGA Feature Film Award in 1976, has been lionized throughout our culture as the quintessential underdog story - a recurring theme in his notable body of work which included "Save the Tiger" and "The Karate Kid" franchise.

Like Rocky, his The Karate Kid earned him both box office success and critical acclaim. A few years later, he would direct Jack Lemmon to a Best Actor Oscar with 1973's Save the Tiger.

He also had his share of career setbacks, directing some clunkers and being fired as director of 1970s classics Saturday Night Fever and Serpico because of disputes with producers.

Stallone had written the script and wanted Avildsen to direct it, but Avildsen was already working on another film, but suddenly the production company ran out of money and that film was cancelled. In a statement, his son Anthony Avildsen described him as an extraordinary man who was super talented and very stubborn, which was like a double-edged quality about him. Throughout the decades, his rousing portrayals of victory, courage and emotion captured the hearts of generations of Americans.

"It's better not to be doing something you don't want to do", Avildsen told the Los Angeles Times after he left the project. To this day, I can still remember being in the movie theater watching Daniel Larusso, despite all odds, defeat that blonde-haired jerk Johnny with one kick and win the tournament.

Besides Anthony, Avidsen is survived by two other sons, Jonathan and Ashley, and a daughter, Bridget. The director of the inspirational dramas Rocky, The Karate Kid and Lean On Me has died at the age of 81. Coyle reported from NY.


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