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Rod Daniel, who directed Michael J. Fox in the 1985 box-office hit Teen Wolf, died Saturday at his home in Chicago, his family announced. He was 73.
Daniel specialized in light comedies, also helming Like Father Like Son (1987), starring Kirk Cameron and Dudley Moore; K-9 (1989), with James Belushi and a German Shepherd; The Super (1991), toplined by Joe Pesci; the dog-filled Beethoven’s 2nd (1993); and the 2002 ABC telefilm Home Alone 4 (minus Macaulay Culkin).
Born and raised in Nashville, Daniel got his start in television, where he produced and directed several episodes of the 1979-82 CBS sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.
Daniel made his feature debut with Teen Wolf, which starred Fox — then 24 and on a break from NBC’s Family Ties — as a high school basketball player who learns he’s a werewolf. (His father, played by James Hampton, is a werewolf as well.)
In a 2011 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Daniel said he landed the gig after Fox asked a bunch of potential directors what the movie was about. While everyone else said, “A werewolf,” Daniel’s reply was, “It’s about a father and son.”
Released on Aug. 23, 1985, Teen Wolf debuted at No. 2 in its opening weekend with $6.1 million, second only to Back to the Future, which also starred Fox and was in its eighth week in theaters. Made for just $1.4 million, Teen Wolf grossed about $80 million worldwide.
A Vietnam veteran and the son of a surgeon, Daniel also directed episodes of such TV series as Newhart; Everybody Loves Raymond; Magnum, P.I.; Mary; Caroline in the City; Boston Common; and Men Behaving Badly. He retired from filmmaking in 2003.
Survivors include his wife Marti, whom he married in 1968, children John and Lucas and grandson Ethan.
The family requested that donations in Daniel’s memory can be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
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