He additionally helmed three movies that includes a younger Jack Nicholson in addition to one of many first buddy-cop films, ‘Freebie and the Bean.’
Richard Rush, the author, director and producer who earned two Oscar nominations for his work on the deliciously darkish Peter O’Toole comedy The Stunt Man, has died. He was 91.
Rush died Thursday of pure causes at his residence in Los Angeles, his spouse, Claude, instructed The Hollywood Reporter. He demonstrated an unbelievable “will to dwell” and survived 18 years with a coronary heart transplant, she famous.
Early in his profession, Rush directed the youth-targeted flicks Hells Angels on Wheels (1967) and Psych-Out (1968) — each that includes a brash, younger Jack Nicholson — and went on to helm and produce one of many first Hollywood buddy-cop comedies, Freebie and the Bean (1974).
Rush additionally directed and produced Getting Straight (1970), a hip countercultural comedy that starred Elliott Gould and Candice Bergen and was one of many first movies to middle on the Vietnam Struggle.
The Stunt Man (1980), a blistering satire of behind-the-scenes moviemaking, starred O’Toole, in one in every of his best roles, because the manipulative film director Eli Cross. When an escaped convict (Steve Railsback) wanders onto the set of his battle image and causes the demise of a stuntman, Cross permits him to take the useless man’s place, then places him in all kinds of perilous conditions — all to get the proper shot.
It took Rush nearly a decade to get The Stunt Man off the bottom, and he was rewarded with Oscar noms for adapting (with Lawrence B. Marcus) the novel by Paul Brodeur in addition to directing. He produced the film as properly.
Regardless of accolades from critics and effusive reward from the moviegoers who noticed it, The Stunt Man was grossly mishandled by its distributors and by no means obtained a large launch, a lamentable scenario that Rush addressed within the 2000 DVD documentary The Sinister Saga of Making The Stunt Man.
In an interview earlier than the 2016 Coronado Island Movie Pageant (The Stunt Man incorporates a fantastic scene filmed surreptitiously exterior the Lodge del Coronado), Rush was requested why it took so lengthy for him to get a inexperienced gentle.
“The monetary historical past of films made about films was questionable. Plus, they did not wish to reveal the secrets and techniques of the stunt world to the general public,” he mentioned.
“[But] the actual cause for the rejection is that they needed an image that may very well be described in a single sentence. Was it a comedy, a tragedy, social satire or motion journey film? The reply was sure, and so they could not pigeonhole it. Ten years later after we made the film, it got here out precisely the way in which I needed it to.”
Richard Rush was born in Manhattan on April 15, 1929. He and his household moved to Los Angeles when he was 7, and he attended L.A. Excessive and movie college at UCLA. He then shot coaching movies and did PR work for the U.S. Air Drive, an “superb interval of coaching” for him.
In 1960, Rush made his directorial debut on Common Photos’ Too Quickly to Love, which he additionally wrote and produced. A romantic drama about two youngsters and an sudden being pregnant, it featured Nicholson in solely his second big-screen look.
Rush then wrote and helmed Of Love and Want (1963), toplined by Merle Oberon and Steve Cochran, and helmed Thunder Alley (1967), a inventory automobile film that starred Fabian and Annette Funicello. The latter was his first movie for American Worldwide Photos.
AIP was “the teenage exploitation studio that knew the key the studios did not, which is that if you wish to appeal to a sure demographic, you make your main forged that age group, and so they’ll come to see themselves,” Rush mentioned in a 2011 interview with the A.V. Membership. “Additionally, you must take care of themes which might be vital to them. Since I used to be very rebellious, my characters have been all the time very rebellious, which appeared to be the keynote of American youth at the moment.”
Rush employed actual bikers for Hells Angels on Wheels; wrapped the hippie flick Psych-Out in 13 days; directed a second motorbike image, The Savage Seven (1968); and helmed the low-budget spy drama A Man Referred to as Dagger (1968).
Rush had a breakthrough with Getting Straight, an clever dissection of academia and the vanity of the protest period that might grow to be Columbia Photos’ highest-grossing movie that 12 months. Gould performs a disillusioned graduate pupil, and Bergen is his chameleon-like girlfriend within the film.
“The ebook for Getting Straight was a novel [by Ken Kolb] that was intriguing. I instructed the studio if they’d let me play the story in present occasions, at a college protesting the battle in Vietnam, I’d be obliged to do it,” Rush mentioned. “The studio was very a lot government-connected, and it was daring of them to let me have the go-ahead.”
Whereas he was dickering with studio executives over The Stunt Man, Rush was provided the prospect to direct and produce Freebie and the Bean, starring James Caan (already hooked up) and Alan Arkin (his alternative) as cops who run roughshod over San Francisco. It was Warner Bros.’ high money-maker in 1974.
“We did a brand new screenplay based mostly on the concept, which appealed to me, of two dangerous cops who run round city like an previous married couple, continually arguing with one another,” he mentioned. “I’m undecided which was the husband and which was the spouse, and I do not suppose they have been positive both.”
Rush’s 12th and last characteristic as director was the erotic thriller Colour of Night time (1994), starring Bruce Willis.
Rush obtained a screenplay credit score on Air America (1990), a saga a couple of C.I.A.-run airline in Cambodia that starred Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. He spent years on the mission, however his script was rewritten. “Each every now and then I really see the film, and it depresses me,” he mentioned within the A.V. Membership chat.
Rush teamed with Laszlo Kovacs on six movies, and he mentioned he and the famed cinematographer developed the filming approach generally known as “racking focus,” when the main target is shifted from one object to a different in a body.
Rush appeared as an airline pilot within the 1987 Railsback-starring movie Distortions. An avid aviator himself, he owned a relic World Struggle II aircraft geared up for aerial pictures.
Along with his spouse — they have been collectively for 48 years — survivors embrace his son, Anthony, and grandson, Shayne.
“He will probably be remembered for a string of landmark movies within the 1960s and ’70s, culminating together with his 1980 multi-Oscar-nominated traditional, The Stunt Man, which is extensively thought to be one of many biggest movies of all time,” his spouse wrote in a press release.
“However to those that have been privileged to know and love him, he will probably be much more warmly remembered, and missed, for his integrity, his loyalty, his limitless generosity of spirit and his boundless help and mentorship of different filmmakers, writers or certainly anybody who ever dared to, within the phrases of his Stunt Man hero Eli Cross, ’tilt at a windmill.'”