Oscar-winning writer and film director Curtis Hanson has passed away at the age of 71. He died of natural causes at his home in Hollywood, police have confirmed. According to Variety, he had retired in recent years due to Alzheimer's.
Curtis was a hugely respected figure in the film industry. He won an Oscar in 1998 for best adapted screenplay for LA Confidential, while his directing credits included The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, The River Wild and Wonder Boys.
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Curtis Hanson, acclaimed director and screenwriter, has sadly passed away
Russell Crowe, who got his big break playing Bud White in LA Confidential, led the tributes, writing on Twitter: "Thank you for believing in me & standing your ground. In reality you made my job a career. Love & respect my friend."
Curtis also directed the hip-hop movie 8 Mile, starring Eminem, and the rapper issued a heartfelt statement in light of the news. "Curtis Hanson believed in me and our crazy idea to make a rap battle movie set in Detroit," he said. "He basically made me into an actor for 8 Mile. I'm lucky I go to know him."
Russell Crowe led the tributes to Curtis
Tobey Maguire, who appeared in Wonder Boys with Michael Douglas and Katie Holmes, described Curtis as "a generous and talented man", adding, "I'm grateful to have known and worked with him."
Katie, meanwhile, shared a touching tribute on Instagram, along with a collage of her and Curtis together. "I am so sad to hear of Curtis Hanson's passing," she said. "I feel so fortunate to have gotten to work with him and to know him. He was a brilliant director who touched so many lives, including mine. I am forever grateful for his kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity. He will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace ❤."
Katie Holmes shared a heartfelt message honouring the late filmmaker
Rob Lowe, star of the 1990 thriller Bad Influence, also honoured the late director. "So smart, so kind and a great storyteller. I will miss him," he said. Kevin Bacon, who starred in his 1994 movie The River Wild with Meryl Streep, added: "So sad to hear about Curtis Hanson. Great director. Great man. Riding that river with him was one of the greatest gigs of my life."
Reno-native Curtis grew up in LA and dropped out of high school to pursue a career as a photographer. He began screenwriting and directing in the early 1970s, but it wasn't until 1992 that he saw mainstream success with the psychological thriller The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
Kevin Bacon worked with Curtis on the 1994 movie The River Wild
He then went on to direct 1994's The River Wild, and three years later took home his Oscar for the neo-noir crime film LA Confidential, which he both wrote and produced. His final project was the 2012 surf movie Chasing Mavericks, starring Gerard Butler – however, he dropped out during filming due to an undisclosed illness and was replaced by Michael Apted.
Curtis pictured with his Oscar at the 1998 Academy Awards
When asked to describe his career in 2005, Curtis told the BBC: "Thematically I just go to what interests me. I'm always asking myself, is this a world I want to go into?
"To use the analogy of a traveller, I'm someone who likes to go to different countries rather than return to the same country all the time."