|Richard O. Fleischer|
December 8, 1916|
Brooklyn, New York
|Died||March 25, 2006
Woodland Hills, California
Richard O. Fleischer (December 8, 1916 – March 25, 2006) was an American film director.
Fleischer was born in Brooklyn, the son of Essie (née Goldstein) and animator/producer Max Fleischer. After graduating from Brown University, he went to Yale School of Drama, where he met his future wife, Mary Dickson.
His film career began in 1942 at the RKO studio, directing shorts, documentaries, and compilations of forgotten silent features, which he called "Flicker Flashbacks". He won an Academy Award as producer of the 1947 documentary Design for Death, co-written by Theodor Geisel (later known as Dr. Seuss), which examined the cultural forces that led to Japan's imperial expansion through World War II.
Fleischer's first feature film, Child of Divorce, was released in 1947. His other early films were taut film noir thrillers such as Bodyguard (1948), The Clay Pigeon (1949), Follow Me Quietly (1949), Armored Car Robbery (1950), and The Narrow Margin (1952). In 1948, Fleischer also directed So This Is New York, a cynically sophisticated comedy starring acerbic humorist Henry Morgan based upon a Ring Lardner novel.
In 1954, he was chosen by Walt Disney (his father's former rival as a cartoon producer) to direct 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, and Peter Lorre. It was a great success with both the critics and the public. As a result, Fleischer became known for big features, often employing special effects, such as Barabbas (1961), Fantastic Voyage (1966), Doctor Dolittle (1967), and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970).
He directed many action adventures such as Violent Saturday (1955), Bandido (1956) starring Robert Mitchum, The Vikings (1958), and Mr. Majestyk (1974). Fleischer also directed a trilogy of films centering on famous serial killers and focusing on the theme of capital punishment: Compulsion (1959), The Boston Strangler (1968) and 10 Rillington Place (1971). He helmed Soylent Green (1973), a cautionary tale of overpopulation and pollution. Some of his entertainments are regarded as controversial and provocative, such as Che! (1969), a biopic of Che Guevara, and the interracial melodrama of the Deep South in Mandingo (1975).
Fleischer was chairman of Fleischer Studios, which today handles the licensing of Betty Boop and Koko the Clown. In June 2005, he released his memoirs of his father's career in Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution.
Death and legacy
He died in his sleep at age 89, after having been in failing health for the better part of a year.
Fleischer's 1993 autobiography, Just Tell Me When to Cry, described his many difficulties with actors, writers and producers.
- Academy Awards: Oscar, Best Feature Documentary, for Design for Death (1947); Shared with: Sid Rogell and Theron Warth; 1948.
- Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival, Avoriaz, France: Grand Prize, for Soylent Green; 1974.
- Saturn Award, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films: Best Science Fiction Film, for Soylent Green; 1975.
- Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films: Special Award for career in film; 1995.
- Golden Globes: Golden Globe, Best Director, for The Happy Time (1952); 1953.
- Cannes Film Festival: Golden Palm, for Compulsion; 1959.
- Directors Guild of America: DGA Award, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, for The Vikings; 1959.
- Directors Guild of America: DGA Award, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, for Compulsion; 1960.
- British Academy of Film and Television Arts: BAFTA Film Award, Best Film from any Source, for Compulsion; 1960.
- Hugo Awards: Best Picture for Fantastic Voyage (1966)
- Hugo Awards: Best Picture for Soylent Green (1973)
- Fantasporto, Porto, Portugal: International Fantasy Film Award, Best Film, for Amityville 3-D; 1986.
- Razzie Awards: Razzie Award nomination, Worst Director, for The Jazz Singer; shared with: Sidney J. Furie; 1981.
- Fleischer, Richard, Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution (University Press of Kentucky, 2005)
- Fleischer, Richard, Just Tell Me When to Cry (Carroll and Graf, 1993)
- "Richard O. Fleischer Biography (1916-)". Film Reference.
- Robertson, Campbell (March 27, 2006). "Richard Fleischer, Director of Popular Films, Is Dead at 89". The New York Times.
- Baxter, Brian (March 28, 2006). "Obituary: Richard Fleischer". The Guardian.
- Guillen, Michael (August 13, 2008). "KIYOSHI KUROSAWA BLOGATHON—CURE: Confusion and Sophistication". Twitch Film.
- Goble, Alan (2008). "The Complete Index to World Film, since 1885".