Filmmaker-writer Curtis Hanson, known for his films like the Kevin Spacey-starrer LA Confidential, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and The River Wild, has passed away. He was 71.
Hanson, whose sterling adaptation of the noir classic LA Confidential earned him an Oscar and vaulted him to A-list status as a screenwriter and director, died on September 20 in his home in the Hollywood hills, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Paramedics had been called to the scene and found him dead, said the LAPD. Hanson also helmed box-office hits such as horror thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) and the Eminem hip-hop drama 8 Mile (2002).
He most recently directed the 2012 surfing movie Chasing Mavericks but left the production because of an undisclosed illness. Michael Apted completed the picture, and Hanson never directed a film again.
Eminem, star of 8 Mile, said in a statement, "Curtis Hanson believed in me and our crazy idea to make a rap battle movie set in Detroit. He basically made me into an actor for 8 Mile. I'm lucky I got to know him."
A skilled technician and former magazine journalist who worked with Roger Corman and Sam Fuller early in his career, the versatile Hanson was proficient in a wide array of genres and styles. He also helmed Losin' It (1983), the teen comedy starring Tom Cruise; The River Wild (1994), the rafting action adventure starring Meryl Streep; Michael Douglas-starrer Wonder Boys (2000); and In Her Shoes (2005), a comedy starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette.
Earlier in his career, Hanson directed the Hitchcockian homages "The Bedroom Window" (1987), which he also scripted, and "Bad Influence" (1990). Hanson worked closely with writer-director Brian Helgeland over many months to adapt James Ellroy's complex novel for the screen for their Oscar, and he also received nominations for producing and directing "LA Confidential" (1997), considered by many to be the best Hollywood noir-style film since 1974's Chinatown.
The crime drama, which also starred Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger and Danny De Vito, also played in competition at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Palme d'Or.