Richard Zanuck Watched His Biopic Days Before Dying (Exclusive)

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The legendary producer saw a full-length cut of "Don't Say No Until I Finish Talking" on July 10.

A version of this story originally appeared in the Rambling Reporter column of the August 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

Legendary producer Richard D. Zanuck was able to view a full-length cut of the upcoming documentary about his career, Don’t Say No Until I Finish Talking, for the first time on July 10 -- just three days before he would pass away, at 77, of a heart attack.

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The film’s director, Laurent Bouzereau, tells THR: “He called me immediately after viewing it to tell me how happy he was with the result and that he couldn’t wait to see me at lunch on Friday and, as he said, ‘look at [you] in the eyes and tell you how touched I am.’ I got the tragic news that Dick had left us early Friday morning. I realize it’s very little comfort, but he did get to see all the love and admiration that everyone featured in the piece had for him, and that in itself is a miracle.”

Don’t Say No -- which features interviews with Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Ron Howard, Sherry Lansing, William Friedkin, Johnny Depp and others -- will debut at April’s Turner Classic Movies film festival in Hollywood, then air on the network the following month.

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Zanuck, the son of silent star Virginia Fox and 20th Century Fox co-founder Darryl F. Zanuck (himself famous for saying “Don’t say yes until I finish talking”), oversaw the Oscar-winning films Patton, The French Connection and Driving Miss Daisy, as well as blockbusters like Jaws and Burton’s 2001 take on Planet of the Apes. His final credit was this year’s Dark Shadows, which has grossed $234 million since its May debut.