Filmmaker Bert Tenzer Dies at 86


Bert Tenzer, who wrote, produced and directed the quirky 1969 comic fantasy 2000 Years Later, died Aug. 29 of cancer at his Malibu home. He was 86.

2000 Years Later, distributed by Warner Bros. after execs saw the finished film, starred John Abbott as a citizen of ancient Rome who is transported to the 20th century to warn America about its decline and imminent fall. Terry-Thomas and Edward Everett Horton also starred.

In her review for New York magazine, the influential critic Judith Crist wrote that the movie "has distillations of La Dolce Vita [and] Dr. Strangelove" and urged moviegoers to see it.

A native of Long Beach, N.Y., Tenzer later wrote, produced and directed the 1973 documentary Free, with performances by Jimi Hendrix, Dr. John and Janis Joplin, and helmed another documentary, 1977's The Day the Music Died.

When the VCR became popular in the 1980s, Tenzer built a Malibu-based chain of more than 1,000 stores across the country called The Video Connection. Some of his stores featured a "Viditheatre," a small viewing area for patrons to sit, watch films and buy popcorn. He also founded a company called Advanced Video Robotics, which made machines to dispense videocassettes.

Survivors include his wife Regina and sons Scott and Keith.

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