George P. Cosmatos

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George P. Cosmatos
Born George Pan Cosmatos
(1941-01-04)4 January 1941
Florence, Italy
Died 19 April 2005(2005-04-19) (aged 64)
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Occupation Director
Years active 1960–1997

George Pan Cosmatos (4 January 1941 – 19 April 2005) was a Greek-Italian film director.

Early life[edit]

Cosmatos was born to a Greek family in Italy, and grew up in Egypt and Cyprus. He is said to have spoken six languages.[1] After studying film at the London Film School, he became assistant director to Otto Preminger on Exodus (1960), based on Leon Uris's novel about the birth of Israel. Thereafter he worked on Zorba the Greek (1964), in which Cosmatos had a small part as Boy with Acne.


He became famous in Italy for directing the films Rappresaglia (1973) with Marcello Mastroianni and The Cassandra Crossing (1976) with Sophia Loren. In 1979, he made the successful World War II adventure movie Escape to Athena, starring a gigantic all star cast including Roger Moore, David Niven, Telly Savalas, Elliott Gould and Claudia Cardinale. Cosmatos directed the box-office hit Rambo: First Blood Part II starring Sylvester Stallone, and another Stallone vehicle, Cobra, in 1986.

Late in his career, Cosmatos received more praise for Tombstone, a 1993 Western movie about Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. This film was particularly praised for the exceptional performance of Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday. After the director's death Tombstone star Kurt Russell claimed in one interview that Cosmatos had ghost-directed the movie on Russell's behalf.[2] Russell claimed Stallone recommended Cosmatos to him after the removal of the first director, writer Kevin Jarre, but Cosmatos had also worked with Tombstone executive producer Andrew G. Vajna before on Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Outside of his film career, Cosmatos was a notable collector of rare books, focussing mainly on 19th-20th Century English literature and signed & inscribed works. His library was sold through Sotheby's.[3]

George P. Cosmatos died of lung cancer on 19 April 2005, at his home in Victoria, British Columbia at the age of 64. He was survived by one son, Panos Cosmatos, who directed the independently released surreal film Beyond the Black Rainbow. Panos claims that his film was funded primarily by royalties from his father's film, Tombstone.



  1. ^ Oliver, Myrna (2005-04-27). "George P. Cosmatos, 64; Director Was Known for Saving Troubled Projects". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  2. ^ Beck, Henry Cabot. "The "Western" Godfather". True West Magazine. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Catalogue: The Collection of George Cosmatos, Sotheby's, London, 23 March 2005

External links[edit]