Design for Death (1947) - News Poster


Director Richard Fleischer Dies at 89

  • WENN
Director Richard Fleischer Dies at 89
Director Richard Fleischer, a prolific filmmaker who helmed such movies as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Fantastic Voyage, and Soylent Green, died Saturday of natural causes in Los Angeles; he was 89. The son of pioneering animator Max Fleischer (one of the men behind famed characters Betty Boop and Popeye), Richard joined RKO's New York branch in the early 40s as a writer and producer for the studio's Flicker Flashbacks series and won an Oscar for the documentary Design for Death. By the end of the decade was ensconced in Hollywood, directing a number of low-budget noir thrillers, one of his most famous being the train-set The Narrow Margin, one of the first films to use a handheld camera and filmed in only 13 days; it was later remade in the 90s. In 1954, Fleischer got his big break courtesy of Walt Disney (his father's rival), who tapped him to direct the big-screen adaptation of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Kirk Douglas and James Mason. Disney's first entire live-action movie made in the United States, it became one of the studio's most famous and well-known films, inspiring attractions at Disney's theme parks that utilized versions of the Nautilus submarine and the famed battle with a giant squid. Fleischer's career was marked by forays into numerous genres, with some of his more notable movies being The Vikings (1958), Fantastic Voyage (1966), The Boston Strangler (1968), Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), Soylent Green (1973), and the Neil Diamond version of The Jazz Singer (1980). He also directed some of Hollywood's most well-known flops, including the Oscar-nominated musical Doctor Dolittle, the biopic Che! and the slave drama Mandingo. Throughout the 80s, Fleischer worked on a number of modern-day B movies, including cult faves Conan the Destroyer (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Grace Jones) and Red Sonja. He is survived by his wife, Mary, three children and five grandchildren. --Prepared by IMDb staff

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