Richard D. Zanuck
Richard Darryl Zanuck
December 13, 1934
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||July 13, 2012 (aged 77)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Children||4, including Dean Zanuck|
Richard Darryl Zanuck (December 13, 1934 – July 13, 2012) was an American film producer. His 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Zanuck was also instrumental in launching the careers of directors Tim Burton and Steven Spielberg, who described Zanuck as a "director's producer" and "one of the most honorable and loyal men of our profession."
Richard Darryl Zanuck was born in Los Angeles to actress Virginia Fox and Darryl F. Zanuck, then head of production for 20th Century Fox. He was the youngest of three children. He had two elder sisters, Darrilyn (1931-2015) and Susan (1933-1980). While studying at Stanford University, he began his career in the film industry working for the 20th Century Fox story department. In 1959, Zanuck had his first shot at producing with the film Compulsion. In the 1960s, Zanuck became the president of 20th Century Fox. One year of his tenure was chronicled by John Gregory Dunne in The Studio. After failures like 1967's Doctor Dolittle, he was dismissed by his father and joined Warner Bros. as Executive Vice President.
In 1972, Zanuck joined with David Brown to form an independent production company called the Zanuck/Brown Company at Universal Pictures. Their first big hit was "The Sting" (1973) which won the Best Picture Academy Award in 1974. The two men produced a pair of Steven Spielberg's early films, The Sugarland Express (1974) and Jaws (1975). They subsequently produced such box office hits as Cocoon (1985) and Driving Miss Daisy (1989) before dissolving their partnership in 1988. They were jointly awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1990. He worked with Tim Burton six times, producing Burton's adaptation of Planet of the Apes (2001), Big Fish (2003), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Alice in Wonderland (2010), and Dark Shadows (2012). He and Burton connected immediately, and Zanuck was Burton's producer of choice. In a May 2012 interview, Zanuck told Variety: "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. Not that the director, particularly Tim [Burton], needs me, but just in case."
Zanuck married three times. On January 14, 1958, he married Lili Charlene Gentle (b. March 4, 1940), an actress from Birmingham, Alabama, and second cousin of Tallulah Bankhead. The marriage, which produced two daughters, Virginia Lorraine Zanuck (born 1959) and Janet Beverly Zanuck (born 1960), was dissolved in 1968. On October 26, 1969, Zanuck and his protégé, actress Linda Harrison, together with his friend, producer Sy Bartlett, and Harrison's sister Kay, flew to Las Vegas, where Zanuck married Harrison on a balcony of the Sands Hotel. The marriage became difficult after Harrison failed to garner the role of the wife in Zanuck's production of Jaws. In mid-1977, as a result of his second wife's entanglement with a 65-year-old "guru", Vincentii Turriziani of the Risen Christ Foundation, and the alleged guru's claims and demands for money from Zanuck, he filed for divorce and was awarded custody of his two sons, Harrison Richard Zanuck (born 1971) and Dean Francis Zanuck (born 1972). In a 1985 interview, Zanuck said that career problems contributed to his two failed marriages. "Both girls were actresses, and neither one was well established," he said. As head of 20th Century Fox, "It was tough to try to be fair to the project and also try to help them in their careers. If I didn't give them the role, then I had to explain why they weren't right for it. It wasn't the major problem in the marriages, but it was an underlying source of discomfort."
On September 23, 1978, Zanuck married his third wife, Lili Fini (born 1954), a former World Bank employee and Carnation Co. office manager, who helped him raise his sons from his second marriage, and would co-produce some of his most memorable films, including Cocoon (1985), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), and Reign of Fire (2002). When the Zanucks won the Best Picture Oscar in 1989 for Driving Miss Daisy, Lili Fini Zanuck was only the second woman in history to have earned an Oscar for Best Picture. In 1998, she directed an episode of the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, titled "We Have Cleared the Tower", and in 2000, Richard and Lili Fini Zanuck co-produced the 72nd Academy Awards ceremony.
Zanuck died on July 13, 2012, of a heart attack at his home in Los Angeles. The Beverly Park home he had lived in until his death was sold for $20.1M in July 2012. On February 25, 2014, 20th Century Fox opened the Richard D. Zanuck Production Building at its Los Angeles studios. "Richard was a true giant of our industry for over five decades", Fox chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos said at the dedication ceremony. "He was family, and an integral part of our legacy. We couldn't find a building worthy of him, so we built one." The ceremony was attended by Zanuck's widow, Lili Fini Zanuck, his sons, and four of his nine grandchildren.
He was a producer in all films unless otherwise noted.
|1965||The Sound of Music|
|1966||The Sand Pebbles|
|1970||Tora! Tora! Tora!|
|1971||The French Connection|
|1970||Tora! Tora! Tora!||Executive in charge of production||Uncredited|
|2013||The Zero Theorem||In the memory of the great|
|2014||The Grand Budapest Hotel||Special thanks: Our old friends|
|2014||Escobar: Paradise Lost||In loving memory of|
|1987||CBS Summer Playhouse||Executive producer|
|1992||Driving Miss Daisy||Executive producer||Television film|
|2000||72nd Academy Awards||Television special|
|2004||Dead Lawyers||Executive producer||Television film|
|2015||Bessie||Executive producer||Television film|
|2015||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Television Movie||Bessie||Won|
|2011||Golden Globe Award||Best Film||Alice in Wonderland||Nominated|
|2009||Camerimage||Special Award to the Producer of Visually Outstanding Films||Won|
|2007||Broadcast Film Critics Association||Best Film||Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street||Nominated|
|2007||Golden Globe Award||Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy||Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street||Won|
|2007||Saturn Award||Best Horror Film||Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street||Won|
|2005||British Academy Children's Awards||Best Film||Charlie and the Chocolate Factory||Nominated|
|2005||Saturn Award||Best Film||Charlie and the Chocolate Factory||Nominated|
|2004||British Academy of Film and Television Arts||Best Film||Big Fish||Nominated|
|2004||Palm Springs International Film Festival||Lifetime Achievement Award||Won|
|2002||Producers Guild of America Award||Best Theatrical Motion Picture||Road to Perdition||Nominated|
|2002||Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Remake or Sequel||Planet of the Apes (2001 film)||Won|
|2001||ShoWest Convention, USA||Producer of the Year||Won|
|2000||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special||72nd Academy Awards||Nominated|
|1998||Hollywood Film Festival||Outstanding Achievement in Producing||Won|
|1993||Producers Guild of America Award||Lifetime Achievement Award in Motion Pictures||Won|
|1991||British Academy of Film and Television Arts||Best Film||Driving Miss Daisy||Nominated|
|1990||Academy Award||Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award||Won|
|1990||Academy Award||Best Picture||Driving Miss Daisy||Won|
|1990||Golden Globe Award||Best Picture– Musical or Comedy||Driving Miss Daisy||Won|
|1990||National Board of Review of Motion Pictures||Best Film||Driving Miss Daisy||Won|
|1990||Producers Guild of America Award||Best Theatrical Motion Picture||Driving Miss Daisy||Won|
|1990||Producers Guild of America Award||Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures||Driving Miss Daisy||Won|
|1983||Academy Award||Best Picture||The Verdict||Nominated|
|1976||Academy Award||Best Picture||Jaws||Nominated|