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Oscar-winning Director Curtis Hanson Dies at 71
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Oscar-winning Director Curtis Hanson Dies at 71

Picture of Cassam Looch
Film Editor
Updated: 21 September 2016
American director and screenwriter Curtis Hanson, best known for his acclaimed film L.A. Confidential, has died at his Hollywood home. A police spokesman confirmed that the 71-year-old had died due to natural causes. The filmmaker was reported to have suffered from Alzheimer’s in recent years.

Born in 1945 in Reno, Nevada, Hanson began his career writing and editing film magazine Cinema and went on to direct projects as diverse as cult thriller The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992) and Eminem’s quasi-biopic 8 Mile (2002).

He will be best remembered for L.A. Confidential (1997), the gritty neo-noir that looked at the crime-filled world of 1950s Hollywood for which he won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Hanson wrote the film with screenwriter Brian Helgeland, and also saw Kim Basinger win an Academy Award for her portrayal of a flawed femme fatale in the movie.

L.A. Confidential
L.A. Confidential with James Cromwell, Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey | © Warner Bros

Russell Crowe, who made his Hollywood breakthrough in the film as uncompromisingly violent cop Wendell White, tweeted earlier:

Following his adaptation of the James Ellroy novel, Hanson went on to direct Wonder Boys (2000) with Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire. The film was a critical and commercial hit, and it came as something of a surprise when it was announced that the director’s next film would be a hip-hop biopic starring rapper Eminem.

8 Mile also starred Kim Basinger and despite early misgivings prior to release from critics, the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. The track Lose Yourself from the soundtrack went on to win an Oscar.

8 Mile starring Eminem | © Universal Pictures
8 Mile starring Eminem | © Universal Pictures

Hanson’s last film was surf drama Chasing Mavericks (2012) with Gerard Butler and Elizabeth Shue.

Kevin Bacon, who starred in white-water rafting action movie The River Wild (1994) opposite Meryl Streep, said of the film’s director: