View Full Version : RIP John G Avildsen

06-16-2017, 06:30 PM
Today sees the tragic passing of Academy Award winner John G. Avildsen. According to Variety, the Rocky and The Karate Kid helmer has passed away at age 81, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his four children.

Born in Oak Park, Illinois, John G. Avildsen launches his Hollywood career as an assistant to directors Arthur Penn and Otto Preminger (themselves both three-time Oscar nominees). Avildsen made his directorial debut with the 1970 drama Joe, starring Peter Boyle. A few years later, he would direct Jack Lemmon to a Best Actor Oscar with 1973ís Save the Tiger. (Save the Tiger was Lemmonís second and final Oscar win, having previously winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for 1955ís Mister Roberts).

It was with 1976ís Rocky, however, that John G. Avildsen would truly make a name for himself. The boxing drama took home three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing. Rocky also launched a franchise that has seen six big screen sequels. Avildsen even returned to direct Rocky V in 1990.

Rocky wasnít Avildsenís only underdog story that became a major franchise. He not only directed the 1984 original but returned for two sequels: The Karate Kid Part II in 1986 and The Karate Kid Part III in 1989.

Among John G. Avildsenís other notable credits include 1980ís The Formula (starring Marlon Brando and George C. Scott), the 1981 comedy Neighbors (which marked the final performance from the late John Belushi) and the 1989 drama Lean on Me, starring Morgan Freeman. His final feature as a director was 1999ís Inferno, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. The actioner also reunited Avildsen with Karate Kid franchise star Pat Morita.

Whatís your favorite John G. Avildsen film? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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