Conan director Fleischer dies, 89

Conan director Fleischer dies, 89

Fleischer’s father was a pioneer in the field of animated shorts
Richard Fleischer, veteran director of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Fantastic Voyage and Tora! Tora! Tora!, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 89.
His other films include 10 Rillington Place, The Boston Strangler and the 1967 version of Doctor Dolittle.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, who worked with Fleischer on Conan the Destroyer, called him “a true Hollywood legend”.

“He was a man of great talent and an extraordinary director,” said the actor, now governor of California.

According to his son Mark, Fleischer died on Saturday of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills.

The son of animator Max Fleischer, producer of the Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons, Richard began his career in the 1940s making Pathe newsreels.

He joined the RKO studio in 1948, where he made such acclaimed B-movie thrillers as Narrow Margin and Armored Car Robbery.

‘Very difficult’

He went on to direct such high-profile projects as The Vikings with Kirk Douglas and Doctor Dolittle with Rex Harrison.

In his 1993 autobiography Fleischer spoke candidly about both, saying Douglas “very, very difficult” and that he’d wanted to give Harrison “a swift kick in the head”.

Fleischer directed Douglas in 20,000 Leagues and The Vikings
Fleischer’s later films included Soylent Green with Charlton Heston, Mr Majestyk with Charles Bronson and the Neil Diamond remake of The Jazz Singer.

His last film was 1989’s Call from Space, though he was executive producer on a 1994 Betty Boop feature that was eventually never made.

He is survived by his wife Mary, their three children and five grandchildren.

Max Fleischer said he would remember his father as a gentle man who always put family first.

“My parents made a great effort to insulate their children from the craziness of Hollywood,” he said. “They made sure our lives were as normal as possible.”

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