Newswire: R.I.P. John G. Avildsen, director of Rocky and The Karate Kid

Variety reports that John G. Avildsen, an Oscar-winning director with a celebrated knack for capturing the stories of beloved underdogs, has died. Avildsen—whose best-known films include Rocky and the first three installments of The Karate Kid franchise—was 81.

Avildsen’s early films arrived at a time when America was struggling with the growing counterculture of the 1970s; his first major hit, the Peter Boyle-starring vigilante feature Joe, becoming a lightning rod with its depiction of a charismatic, violent “everyman” with a lethal hatred of hippies. (The film reportedly inspired the softer-edged bigots in shows like Norman Lear’s All In The Family, and the positive reaction to the character by moviegoers who identified with Joe, instead of being reviled by him, caused Boyle to renounce violent roles.) Avildsen followed Joe with the 1973 morality play Save The Tiger, which earned Jack Lemmon an Academy Award for his depiction …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *