Friday, April 19, 2024

RIP DIrector John Avildsen Won the Oscar for “Rocky,” Directed “The Karate Kid,” Introduced Susan Sarandon


John Avildsen died today. The director of many hit films won the Oscar for “Rocky” in 1977. He left quite a nice legacy of films including “The Karate Kid,” “Lean on Me,” the original “Neighbors” with Aykroyd and Belushi.

Avildsen has two other films on his resume that are always worth watching. “Joe” starred Peter Boyle and a brand new Susan Sarandon in a character study that presaged Archie Bunker. Watching it now is like seeing a time capsule.

He also directed the great Jack Lemmon to his second Oscar in 1973’s “Save the Tiger.” (Lemmon also won for “Mister Roberts” in 1956.)

It looks like Avildsen more or less retired around 1999, but was thinking of a comeback next year with Richard Dreyfuss and an 89 year old Martin Landau in “Nate and Al.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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