Profile of Richard Fleischer
Date Of Birth:
8 December 1916
Date Of Death:
25 March 2006
Place Of Birth:
Brooklyn, New York
Best Known As:
The director of 'Doctor Doolittle' and 'Soylent Green'
Richard O. Fleischer directed Hollywood movies from the early 1940s to the late 1980s, a variety that included 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Doctor Doolittle (1967), Soylent Green (1973) and Conan the Destroyer (1984). His father was Max Fleischer, the animator famous for Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor cartoons. Richard Fleischer studied medicine at Brown University, then switched to studying drama at Yale University. An invitation to write for newsreels got him into the movie business, first in New York and then in Los Angeles. Making documentaries earned Fleischer an Oscar, for the feature Design for Death (1947). By the early 1950s, Fleischer was directing B-movie crime thrillers, including the critically acclaimed The Narrow Margin (1952) and Violent Saturday (1955, starring Lee Marvin). He made big, expensive flops like The Vikings (1958, starring Kirk Douglas), Barrabas (1961, starring Anthony Quinn), Doctor Doolittle (1967), Che! (1969) and The Jazz Singer (1980, starring pop star Neil Diamond). Fleischer also directed box office successes like The Girl on the Red Velvet Swing (1955), Compulsion (1959, with Orson Welles), Fantastic Voyage (1966), The Boston Strangler (1968, starring Tony Curtis), Mr. Majestyk (1974, starring Charles Bronson) and Red Sonja (1985). He wrote a biography of his father, Out of the Inkwell (2005) and a memoir, Just Tell Me When to Cry (1993).
Because of a mix-up at the hospital, when Fleischer was born an O. was added as a middle initial on his birth certificate. The O doesn’t stand for anything.
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