LOS ANGELES >> Film producer Richard Zanuck, who won the best picture Oscar for “Driving Miss Daisy” and was involved in such blockbuster films as “Jaws” and “The Sting” after his father, Hollywood mogul Darryl F. Zanuck, fired him from 20th Century Fox, died Friday. He was 77.
Zanuck’s publicist says he died of a heart attack at his Beverly Hills home.
Zanuck’s run of successes as an independent producer rivaled the achievements of his legendary father who reigned over 20th Century Fox from the 1930s until age and changing audience tastes brought him down.
The production company the younger Zanuck founded with David Brown produced “The Sting” in 1973, as well as Steven Spielberg’s first feature film, “The Sugarland Express,” in 1974 and Spielberg’s first blockbuster, “Jaws,” in 1975. “The Sting” also won the best movie Oscar, although Zanuck and Brown were not listed as its producers. “Jaws” was nominated for best picture, as was the Zanuck-produced “The Verdict.”
Other Zanuck films include “MacArthur” and “Cocoon.”
In 1976, Zanuck and Brown announced a much-publicized deal with the estate of novelist Margaret Mitchell to produce a sequel to “Gone With the Wind.” A book and script were prepared, but the project never materialized on film.
In 1988, Zanuck and Brown dissolved their partnership amicably, and Zanuck formed a new venture with his third wife, Lili Fini Zanuck. They won the Oscar with their first movie together, 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy.” (Zanuck’s first wife also was named Lili.)