Sunday, 25 June, 2017

RIP John G. Avildsen, Director of 'Rocky' and 'The Karate Kid'

John G. Avildsen, 'Rocky,' 'The Karate Kid' Director, Dead at 81 RIP John G. Avildsen, director of Rocky and The Karate Kid
Emilio Banks | 17 June, 2017, 11:22

The 1976 film became a phenomenon that won Oscars for best picture as well as for Avildsen as director. Released in 1984, the film centers on a bullied teenager who gains confidence after learning karate from a Japanese handyman.

Stallone, who also worked with Avildsen in "Rocky V", took to Instagram to pay tribute to the veteran filmmaker.

The franchise, The Karate Kid (1984), which starred Pat Morita as an Okinawan martial arts master who agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager, brought in nearly a quarter-billion dollars at the Box Office.

The Directors Guild of America paid tribute to Alvidsen, saying: "Throughout the decades, his rousing portrayals of victory, courage and emotion captured the hearts of generations of Americans".

He had been hired to direct Saturday Night Fever after his success with Rocky, but was let go amid differences over his desire to make the story more upbeat than the producers had in mind.

A documentary on the director's life and career, "John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs" (2016), directed and produced by Derek Wayne Johnson, features interviews with Stallone, "Karate Kid" star Ralph Macchio, Martin Scorsese, Jerry Weintraub and Burt Reynolds. That film also impressed Frank Capra, who was incidentally Avildsen's favourite director.

Besides Anthony, Avidsen is survived by two other sons, Jonathan and Ashley, and a daughter, Bridget. He received another Oscar nomination in 1983 for directing the documentary short Traveling Hopefully.

He also guided Jack Lemmon to his only best actor Oscar for his role in the 1973 film Save the Tiger.

Avildsen was born on December 21, 1935, in Oak Park, Ill. The director of the inspirational dramas Rocky, The Karate Kid and Lean On Me has died at the age of 81. Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, George C. Scott, and Marlon Brando all passed in front of Avildsen's camera over the next few years, but films like Neighbors, The Formula, and Slow Dancing In The Big City failed to attract either critical love or box office success.

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