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Richard Zanuck Dead: 'Jaws' Producer Dies At 77

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Richard Zanuck, dead at 77.
Richard Zanuck, dead at 77.

Richard Zanuck, an Oscar winning producer and former president at Twentieth Century Fox, died on Friday after suffering a heart attack, according to various reports. He was 77.

Deadline.com was the first to announce Zanuck's death.

Zanuck was the son of famed studio mogul Darryl Zanuck, but carved his own niche in Hollywood. He famously produced Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" as well as 1989 Best Picture winner "Driving Miss Daisy." Zanuck was also responsible for "Cocoon," 2001's "Planet of the Apes," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Sweeney Todd," "Alice in Wonderland" and this year's "Dark Shadows." Under Zanuck's watch at Fox, the studio released films like "M*A*S*H," "The Sound of Music" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

One of the most influential producers in Hollywood history, Zanuck told Variety in an interview earlier this year that the position had lost some of its luster.

"I think there's been a devaluation of the concept," he said. "Maybe too many people have used the term 'producer' when they weren't qualified. [...] A producer should contribute from the very beginning until the very end, in all aspects. I'm there at the set every day, on every shot. [...] There are producers who don't even watch the dailies, who have some contact with the project and get their name slapped on there."

Zanuck's death came as a surprise to many. He had been working on a new movie called "Hidden" with Alexander Skarsgard.

“As of yesterday, he was in good spirits. This is totally unexpected," producer Roy Hill told the Los Angeles Times. "I talked to him two days ago and he seemed fine.”

For more on Zanuck's life, head over to Variety.

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