John G. Avildsen, who won an Oscar for directing the original “Rocky” (1976), starring Sylvester Stallone, and also directed all three of the original “Karate Kid” films, has died in Los Angeles. He was 81.
A rep confirmed his death.
Avildsen also won the DGA Award for directing “Rocky,” which also won Oscars for best picture and film editing and was nominated in multiple other categories.
In 2006 Variety interviewed Avildsen, who said that a film with a boxing story didn’t excite him at first, but he was “moved by the urban character study of Sylvester Stallone’s script.” He held out on directing part two in lieu of another project — a decision that Avildsen said was “one of my greatest mistakes.” He returned to the franchise to direct 1990’s “Rocky V.”
In 1983 he was Oscar nominated again, this time for the documentary short “Traveling Hopefully.”
Avildsen developed a reputation for making movies about losers, »
- Carmel Dagan
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