OBIT: Hollywoods 'Conan' Director Richard Fleischer


Richard Fleischer 1916-2006Hollywood legend Richard Fleischer, a talented "jack of all trades" director, died at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in California on Saturday having suffered from a respiratory infection. He was 89 and in his enduring screen career had directed over 50 movies.

 Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea gained Fleischer universal recognition as a director

Conan the Destroyer gave Arnie his first big breakFleischer, whose father was animator Max Fleischer (co-creator of Popeye and Betty Boop), first encountered Hollywood success in 1947, when he won the Academy Award for best documentary for the Pearl Harbour film 'Design for Death'.

He soon had his first bona fide hit in the shape of low-budget thriller 'The Narrow Margin', before going on to make a series of diverse studio pictures including, for Disney, '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' which gave Fleischer his break out of 'B' movies and into mainstream features.

From fantasy spectaculars like '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' and 'Fantastic Voyage' to serial killer thrillers '10 Rillington Place' and 'The Boston Strangler' to 'sand and sandal' epics like 'The Vikings' and 'Barabbas' Fleischer was a true jack-of-all-trades.

British chiller 10 Rillington Place showed Fleischer's experise at building screen tensionHe also directed the big budget musical flop 'Dr Dolittle', while in 1973 he had one of the biggest hits of his career in the shape of cult sci-fi horror 'Soylent Green'.

In the 1980s Fleischer made two films with Arnold Schwarzenegger, 'Conan the Destroyer' and 'Red Sonja', and the actor-turned-politician payed tribute to him yesterday, saying: 'He was a man of great talent and an extraordinary director who leaves behind a legacy of amazing films.'

Fleischer is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary Dickson Fleischer, three children, and five grandchildren.