September 19, 2013 - 09:07 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Vanishing Point director Richard C. Sarafian died in Santa Monica of complications from pneumonia. He was 83, Deadline reported.
Sarafian had suffered a fall recently where he broke several ribs and his back. He contracted the infection while recovering from that incident, according to his son Deran Sarafian, also a helmer.
Richard Sarafian’s direction of the iconic 1971 car pic was an inspiration to Quentin Tarantino, who gave the director a Special Thanks in the credits of 2007’s car-themed Death Proof. The director was also behind the camera of several early iconic TV series like Batman, I Spy, 77 Sunset Strip and Westerns, including Gunsmoke. His last directing job was a 2011 episode of Zorro: The Legend Continues.
Born April 28, 1930, in New York City, Richard Caspar Sarafian was the son of Armenian immigrants, the Los Angeles Times says. He attended New York University but "was a rotten student, drinking and carousing," he told the Armenian Reporter in 2008. "To make life easier, I took a two-point course in writing and directing pictures. I got an A!"
Serving during the Korean War as a reporter for an Army news service, he was stationed for a time in Kansas City, Mo., where he met future Hollywood director Robert Altman.
The two became pals and worked together making industrial films. When Altman directed a local play, Sarafian acted in it. The director's sister came bounding backstage after he appeared, her arms opened wide.
"Richard, Richard!" she exclaimed. "You were adequate!"
They married and had five children. Helen Joan Altman died two years ago, after divorcing Sarafian and later remarrying him.
In addition to Deran Sarafian, he is survived by sons Damon, Richard Jr. and Tedi; and daughter Catherine. All work in the film industry.