Deer Hunter' director Michael Cimino dead at 77

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, June 20, 2024

Deer Hunter' director Michael Cimino dead at 77
This file photo taken on August 30, 2012 shows US film director Michael Cimino celebrates receiving the Persol Award 2012 during a ceremony at the 69th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido. Cimino, director of the Oscar-winning Vietnam War film "The Deer Hunter," has died at the age of 77, several sources said late on July 2, 2016. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP.

WASHINGTON (AFP).- Michael Cimino, who directed the Oscar-winning Vietnam War film "The Deer Hunter" but then saw his career fade with a big-money box office flop, died Saturday at the age of 77.

Besides his grim, moving tale of the Vietnam War, Cimino will be remembered for the budget-busting failure "Heaven's Gate" released not long thereafter in the 1980s.

Cimino's death, first reported by Cannes film festival director Thierry Fremaux and the New York Times, was confirmed by Lt. B. Kim of the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Kim told AFP that Cimino was found dead in his Beverly Hills home and that the cause of death is pending.

The Times quoted the director's friend and former lawyer Eric Weissmann as saying Cimino's body was found at his home after friends were unable to reach him by telephone.

"The Deer Hunter", released in 1978, was a gut-wrenching tale of a group of American friends in Pennsylvania whose lives were scarred by the Vietnam War.

One of its most gripping scenes depicts characters played by Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken, held prisoner by the North Vietnamese army, playing Russian roulette against each other.

"The Deer Hunter" received nine Oscar nominations and won five, including best picture and best director.

At the time, the Times review called it "a big, awkward, crazily ambitious, sometimes breathtaking motion picture that comes as close to being a popular epic as any movie about this country since 'The Godfather.'"

In a statement Saturday De Niro said, "Our work together is something I will always remember. He will be missed."

But as much as "The Deer Hunter" was a success, Cimino's next film was widely panned as a disaster.

'Showbiz disaster'
"Heaven's Gate", based on a screenplay that Cimino himself wrote, was about migrant homesteaders, rich cattle ranchers, mercenaries and US marshals in the state of Wyoming in the 1890s.

United Artists, which had a history of giving film makers a lot of creative leeway, did so with Cimino on the basis of his big success with "The Deer Hunter."

Cimino had a budget of about $12 million and about three months to shoot the film.

But he spent more than $40 million and took more than a year to film the movie, the Times reported.

The movie was more than three and a half hours long and it was a box office failure.

Variety magazine said the film was "synonymous with showbiz disaster."

The Times said that in a 2010 interview with Vanity Fair, Cimino expressed hope that "Heaven's Gate" would be viewed as a masterpiece some day.

"Nobody lives without making mistakes," Cimino said. "I never second-guess myself."

Gilles Jacob, a former president of the Cannes festival, praised Cimino on Twitter: "He was my friend. He was a great man."

Cimino went on to direct four other films: "Year of the Dragon" (1985), "The Sicilian" (1987), "Desperate Hours" (1990) and "The Sunchaser" (1996).

Variety said that after "Heaven's Gate" the rest of Cimino's films were "mostly footnotes."

Before his "Deer Hunter" success, he had directed "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" (1974) starring Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges, who was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for his performance.

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

July 4, 2016

Decades of design on display as Ikea opens museum in Almhult, Sweden

Pinakothek der Moderne presents the Schack Collection in full

Singapore Art Museum embarks on an artistic exploration of the ocean

Christo's hugely popular floating orange walkway closes

Mabel Dodge Luhan exhibition at the Harwood Museum in Taos, New Mexico

The British Museum announces most successful year ever

Deer Hunter' director Michael Cimino dead at 77

French poet Yves Bonnefoy dies aged 93

Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel dies: Yad Vashem

Taboo or not taboo? Artists expose naked truths in Pakistan

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia unveils "New Romance: Art and the Posthuman"

Exhibition presents exceptionally rare examples of one of the world's oldest and most important textile traditions

First major UK exhibition of outdoor sculpture by contemporary artists from greater China opens

AGGV's summer exhibition examines Pacific Rim trade through video art

Exhibition explores the skills and processes developed by Contemporary British Silversmiths

Art of the treasure hunt: Showcasing leading contemporary artists in Chianti's top wineries

Exhibition presents works linked with event of 1916 that affected Ireland

Major retrospective devoted to an ironic, subversive artist Sislej Xhafa on view at MAXXI

Contemporary works and Abstract Expressionist masterpieces to converge in Denver

Rockbund Art Museum presents "Tell Me a Story: Locality and Narrative"

Royal Academy of Arts presents for the first time a retrospective of over 50 years of Bill Jacklin's work

Exhibition at Latvian National Museum of Art presents the work of Boriss Bērziņš

Stone Hill the focus of Clark Art Institute's Sensing Place exhibition

Infinite Sequence: An exhibition by Ignasi Aballí on view at The Fundació Joan Miró

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful