Richard Zanuck (Richard Darryl Zanuck)

Richard Zanuck

Richard Zanuck married three times. On January 14, 1958, he married Lili Charlene Gentle (b. March 4, 1940), an actress from Birmingham, Alabama, and second cousin of Tallulah Bankhead. The marriage, which produced two daughters, Virginia and Janet, was dissolved in 1968. On October 26, 1969, Zanuck and his protégé, actress Linda Harrison, together with his friend, producer Sy Bartlett, and Harrison’s sister Kay, flew to Las Vegas, where Zanuck married Harrison on a balcony of the Sands Hotel. The marriage became difficult after Harrison failed to garner the role of the wife in Zanuck’s production of Jaws. In mid-1977, as a result of his second wife’s entanglement with a 65-year-old “guru”, Vincentii Turriziani of the Risen Christ Foundation, and the alleged guru’s claims and demands for money from Richard Zanuck, he filed for divorce and was awarded custody of his two sons, Harrison Richard Zanuck and Dean Francis Zanuck. In a 1985 interview, Zanuck said that career problems contributed to his two failed marriages. “Both girls were actresses, and neither one was well established,” he said. As head of 20th Century Fox, “It was tough to try to be fair to the project and also try to help them in their careers. If I didn’t give them the role, then I had to explain why they weren’t right for it. It wasn’t the major problem in the marriages, but it was an underlying source of discomfort.”

On September 23, 1978, Richard Zanuck married his third wife, Lili Fini (born April 2, 1954, Leominster, Massachusetts), a former World Bank employee and Carnation Co. office manager, who helped him raise his sons from his second marriage, and would co-produce some of his most memorable films, including Cocoon (1985), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), and Reign of Fire (2002). When the Zanucks won the Best Picture Oscar in 1989 for Driving Miss Daisy, Lili Fini Zanuck was only the second woman in history to have earned an Oscar for Best Picture. In 1998, she directed an episode of the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, titled “We Have Cleared the Tower”, and in 2000, Richard and Lili Fini Zanuck co-produced the 72nd Academy Awards ceremony. Richard Zanuck died on July 13, 2012, of a heart attack at his home in Beverly Hills.

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  • December, 13, 1934
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California


  • July, 13, 2012
  • USA
  • Beverly Hills, California

Cause of Death

  • heart attack

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