The Associated Press reports that Emmy-winning filmmaker Stuart Rosenberg, best known to genre fans for his helming of 1979ís THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, died of a heart attack Thursday, March 15 at his home in Beverly Hills, CA. He was 79.
Born August 11, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York, Rosenberg began his prolific directorial career in the 1950s, racking up 300-plus television credits during his career, including episodes of the original THE TWILIGHT ZONE (three) and ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS (five). His first foray into feature-film direction came in 1967 with the Paul Newman vehicle COOL HAND LUKE (which received four Academy Award nominations and led Rosenberg to work with Newman on three subsequent films). Other credits include the 1980 Robert Redford prison flick BRUBAKER and the gritty 1984 Mickey Rourke-starrer THE POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE, although it was AMITYVILLE HORROR which proved to be his most financially successful movie.
The supernatural box-office smash ($86 million in í79 dollars), scripted by Sandor Stern from Jay Ansonís purportedly factual book, garnered Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Lalo Schifrinís score and Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films noms for Best Horror Film and Best Actress (Margot Kidder). Seven sequels followed, along with the 2005 remake directed by Andrew Douglas and produced by Michael Bay. Rosenberg is survived by his wife Margot and son Benjamin, who worked in the capacity of assistant director on many of his fatherís later films.