Curtis Hanson, director of the critically acclaimed L.A. Confidential, has died. He was 71.
Hanson was found dead in his Hollywood Hills home on Tuesday, according to TMZ.
While it appears that the director died of a heart attack, it could not be confirmed by the LAPD spokesperson who said the death occurred due to “natural causes.” Hanson had retired after suffering from Alzheimer’s.
An adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel, L.A. Confidential was Hanson’s most personal movie because, as the director said in 1997, Ellroy told “a story set in the same city that I grew up in and dovetails with certain ambitions that I’ve had in terms of telling an L.A. story.”
As reported by the LA Times, Hanson’s directorial debut was the 1972 thriller Sweet Kill, starring Tab Hunter as a psychopathic killer. In 1987 Hanson directed the romantic thriller The Bedroom Window, which the director described as his “first professional debut in terms of being on the map.”
It was, nevertheless, the 1997 film L.A. Confidential that earned Hanson massive popularity in the film industry. As reported by Variety, he was nominated for best picture and best director. Among the other nominations the film earned included cinematography, art direction, sound, editing and score. Kim Basinger won the Oscar for the movie.
L.A. Confidential was also nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. In 2015, it was named to the National Film Registry.
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Some of Hanson’s other film credits include Wonder Boys, 8 Mile, In Her Shoes, Lucky You and the HBO drama “Too Big to Fail.”
After dropping out from high school, Hanson became the movie critic for the Cal State L.A. campus newspaper and soon thereafter was promoted to the role of the entertainment editor. He also served as the first chairman of the UCLA Film and Television Archive beginning in 1999 and a member of the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences starting in 2001.
According to film critic Peter Rainer, Hanson “was a student of film who worked his knowledge into his own movies in a really dynamic way. He had a real grasp of genre, not only of crime films but also of comedy with ‘Wonder Boys.’ He was extremely versatile.”