Michael Cimino


Age: 77

Oscar-winning director and screenwriter whose masterpiece was the 1978 film The Deer Hunter that tells the story of the Vietnam War's effect on a small steel-working town in Pennsylvania and became one of the great triumphs of Hollywood's 1970's heydey (the film won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Cimino and it helped to lift the emerging legendary status of Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep), and whose emerging career then took a U-turn with the disastrous Western flop Heaven's Gate (1980) starring Kris Kristofferson and Christopher Walken (who also won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in The Deer Hunter) that was a critical and financial disaster and helped to bring that era to a close, but the film became synonymous with over-budget and out-of-control productions and a cautionary tale for giving artistic-minded directors too much power as the initial budget of $11.5 million ballooned to $44 million and hastened the demise of United Artists.

Cause of Death: Undetermined causes

Born: February 3, 1939

Died: July 2, 2016

Beverly Hills, California