The 'Jaws' producer, who died of heart attack, is remembered by Spielberg as his teacher and someone who 'fought tooth and nail for his directors.'
Rob Lowe, Zooey Deschanel and Steven Spielberg were among the celebrities who were quick to send condolence and words of tribute in the wake of Richard D. Zanuck's passing. The movie producer died of a heart attack at his home in Beverly Hills on Friday, July 13.
Lowe tweeted, "Sorry to hear of the passing of a legend and true gentleman, DICk Zanuck. If there was a Mount Rushmore of producers he'd be All the faces." Deschanel remembered the late movie veteran in her message, "He was a great person and producer, I am terribly sad to hear this."
Spielberg, who worked with Zanuck in his first feature film "The Sugarland Express", recalled how they got an idea to reunite and make horror/thriller movie "Jaws". The 1975 film based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name became Spielberg's first blockbuster.
"In 1974, Dick Zanuck and I sat in a boat off Martha's Vineyard and watched the mechanical shark sink to the bottom of the sea," the director said in a statement. "Dick turned to me and smiled. 'Gee, I sure hope that's not a sign'."
"That moment forged a bond between us that lasted nearly 40 years," he added. "He taught me everything I know about producing. He was one of the most honorable and loyal men of our profession and he fought tooth and nail for his directors."
Another star who paid tribute to Zanuck was Fred Durst. The Limp Bizkit frontman, who is also a film director, wrote on Twitter, "Rip Richard D Zanuck. What he accomplished in a day is more than most do in a lifetime. A true legend and inspiration for me."
Zanuck passed away at 77. He is survived by his wife Lili Fini Zanuck, his two sons Harrison and Dean, and nine grandchildren. His wife helped him produce the ceremony of 2000 Academy Awards, while his sons followed his footsteps as movie producers.