1. ITV Report

'Jaws' producer Richard D Zanuck dies, aged 77

The veteran Hollywood producer behind the blockbusters 'Jaws' and 'Driving Miss Daisy' has died aged 77.

Richard D. Zanuck at the American Film Festival of Deauville Credit: REUTERS

Richard D Zanuck died on Friday of a heart attack at his home in Beverly Hills.

Zanuck spent most of his career as an independent producer and earned a string of awards during more than 50 years in filmmaking.

Steven Spielberg worked with Zanuck on Jaws. He called the producer:

A cornerstone of our industry, both in name and in deed. In 1974, Dick Zanuck and I sat in a boat off Martha's Vineyard and watched the mechanical shark sink to the bottom of the sea. Dick turned to me and smiled. 'Gee, I sure hope that's not a sign.

Jaws then became one of the biggest hits of its era and helped launch Spielberg's career as a director.

  • Born in Los Angeles, Zanuck, whose mother was actress Virginia Fox, joined his father as a story and production assistant on two 20th Century Fox films, Island in the Sun and The Sun Also Rises.
  • He debuted as a full-fledged producer at age 24 on 1959 feature film Compulsion, which starred Orson Welles. Four years later, he was placed in charge of production at his father's studio.
  • During his eight-year tenure there, the studio cranked out a series of critical and commercial successes, The Sound of Music, Patton and The French Connection, all of which won best film Oscars.
At rehearsals for the Academy Awards in 2000 Credit: REUTERS

The last film of Zanuck's career ended up being his sixth collaboration with Tim Burton, the critical and commercial bomb "Dark Shadows".