Richard D. Zanuck, the Oscar-winning producer of Driving Miss Daisy, Jaws and Cocoon, died Friday of a heart attack at his home in Beverly Hills, his publicist told the Associated Press. He was 77.
With his wife Lili Fini Zanuck the veteran producer owned and operated , a film production business based in Beverly Hills.
Zanuck, the son of the late Darryl F. Zanuck, the former head of 20th Century Fox, was involved in filmmaking for more than 50 years.
The in 1991 gave Zanuck its prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, describing him as "a creative producer whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production."
Zanuck won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for producing Driving Miss Daisy, which won best picture at the Academy Awards in 1989. He is also famed for his support of director Steven Spielberg, with whom he collaborated on Jaws.
Zanuck got his start in film as a story and production assistant with his father on Island in the Sun and The Sun Also Rises, both of which came out in 1957.
He produced his first film, Compulsion, at age 24 in 1959. The film starred Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman.
At 28 years old, Zanuck was named president in charge of production of 20th Century Fox, making him the youngest Hollywood executive at the time. Under his watch, 20th Century Fox produced The Sound of Music, Patton and The French Connection, all of which won Oscars for best picture.
The studio also produced Planet of the Apes, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and M*A*S*H.
Zanuck later moved from Fox to become senior executive vice-president at Warner Bros., where he and partner David Brown oversaw production of box office hits The Exorcist and Blazing Saddles.
Zanuck formed the Zanuck Company in 1988, where he produced Driving Miss Daisy, which was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won four, including Best Picture.
His more recent successes include 1998's Deep Impact which grossed $350 million worldwide, making it the first bona fide blockbuster of the 1998 summer season. He also produced director Tim Burton's re-make of Planet of the Apes and this year's Dark Shadows.
Zanuck also teamed with Burton on a series of films, including Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Alice in Wonderland.
In addition to his wife, Zanuck is survived by sons Harrison and Dean and nine grandchildren.
Flowers were placed at Zanuck's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Friday afternoon.