Jaws Producer Richard Zanuck Dead at 77

Celebrity News Jul. 13, 2012 AT 7:45PM
Producer Richard D. Zanuck arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Dark Shadows" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on May 7, 2012 in Hollywood, California. Producer Richard D. Zanuck arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Dark Shadows" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on May 7, 2012 in Hollywood, California. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Richard Zanuck -- the legendary producer behind Driving Miss Daisy, Jaws, and The Sting -- passed away Friday following a heart attack. He was 77.

The AP reports that Zanuck died at his home in Beverly Hills; he was the son of studio exec Darryl F. Zanuck, who famously fired Richard from 20th Century Fox in 1970.

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The studio Zanuck formed following his ouster would go on to put out The Sting, as well as Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express (the director's first feature film) and Jaws.

"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," Spielberg said in a Friday statement. "Dick turned to me and smiled. 'Gee, I sure hope that's not a sign.' That moment forged a bond between us that lasted nearly 40 years. He taught me everything I know about producing. He was one of the most honorable and loyal men of our profession and he fought tooth and nail for his directors."

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Zanuck is survived by his wife, Lili Fini Zanuck, as well as his four children: Virginia and Janet (with his first wife, Lili Gentle) and Harrison and Dean (with his second wife, actress Linda Harrison.)

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