John G. Avildsen, Oscar-winning Rocky director, dies at 81 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

John G. Avildsen, Oscar-winning Rocky director, dies at 81

John Avildsen shows off the Oscar he won for best director for his motion picture Rocky at the annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, CA, on March 28, 1977. (AP Photo) John Avildsen shows off the Oscar he won for best director for his motion picture Rocky at the annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, CA, on March 28, 1977. (AP Photo)

(RNN) - John G. Avildsen, the Academy Award-winning director of Rocky, who later directed the first three The Karate Kid films, died Friday. He was 81. 

His eldest son, Anthony, told the Los Angeles Times his father died of pancreatic cancer.

Rocky (1976), starring Sylvester Stallone, won three Academy Awards: best picture, best director and best film editing. He and Stallone worked together again in Rocky V (1990).

In The Karate Kid (1984), The Karate Kid Part II and The Karate Kid Part III, Avildsen directed Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. 

Avildsen received his first directing success with Joe (1970), a drama in which Susan Sarandon made her film debut. Joe received critical acclaim for its star, Peter Boyle. 

A documentary about Avildsen's life and career is in production. 

Besides Anthony, Avidsen is survived by two other sons, Jonathan and Ashley, and a daughter, Bridget.  

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved. 

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