1978’s “The Deer Hunter” established him as one of the most vibrant voices of his time.
Director Michael Cimino, best known for the movie “Deer Hunter,” died Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 77.
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Eric Weissman, a friend and former lawyer of Cimino’s, told the New York Times that Cimino’s body was found by the police at his home after friends were unable to get in touch with him via phone. The cause of the death had yet to be determined.
Michael Cimino won two Oscars for his 1978 epic war drama film “The Deer Hunter” and 1980s infamous “Heaven’s Gate” which was a widely over budget film and ended up nearly collapsing the studio.
Born in New York, Michael Cimino started his career as a director with television commercials but rose to prominence in late 70s with the movie “The Deer Hunter." The movie starred Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep and Christopher Walkens and went on to win five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for Cimino. With the success of Vietnam war drama, Cimino earned a reputation as a prolific director. The emerging career of Cimino was dented by 1980 movie “The Heaven’s Gate” which was a critical and financial disaster. The movie took more than a year and went four times over its initial $11 million budget, bringing down the studio “United Artists.”
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It took four long years for Cimino to release his next film “Year of the Dragon.” The movie starred Mickey Rourke as a New York City cop fighting against Chinese gangs. His remaining films were The Sicilian (1987), Desperate Hours (1990) and Sunchaser (1996).
I wish I had paid tribute to Michael Cimino while he was alive.
He was an important and masterful film maker.
We will always have his work— William Friedkin (@WilliamFriedkin) July 2, 2016
Michael Cimino made one great film, The Deer Hunter, and that's a higher number of great films than most directors ever make. Rest In Peace.— Frank Conniff (@FrankConniff) July 3, 2016