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Hollywood paused Friday to remember Richard D. Zanuck, who died of a heart attack Friday at his home in Beverly Hills.
“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.’ 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. Dick Zanuck was a cornerstone of our industry, both in name and in deed.”
Tim Burton, who worked with Zanuck on Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish and Edward Scissorhands, was surprised and saddened at the news.
“I’m in shock and heartbroken at the news of Richard Zanuck’s passing. He was like family to me – a mentor, friend and father figure. Richard was a completely unique and amazing individual and there will never be anyone else like him. I’m too sad to speak more about it right now and need some time to mourn,” Burton said in a statement.
Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment, also remembered his experiences with Zanuck.
“Richard Zanuck was a long-standing member of the Warner Bros. family and an extraordinary producer,” Meyer said in a statement. “His body of work includes some of the best loved films of all time, including our own Driving Miss Daisy, for which he received an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1989. He was a good friend and will always be remembered as a true gentleman who strove for and achieved excellence throughout his career.”
Another rememberance came from Tom Rothman, the chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment.
“Richard Zanuck was a great man and a great friend — a true giant in our industry. The story of our studio, and indeed, all of modern motion picture history itself would not have been the same without his influence. All of us lucky enough to work at 20th Century Fox today, mourn his loss, and honor and celebrate his legacy,” Rothman said in a statement.
Tributes continued on Twitter.
Actress Zooey Deschanel added: “He was a great person and producer, I am terribly sad to hear this.”
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