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Sylvester Stallone Pays Tribute to ‘Rocky’ Director John G. Avildsen: ‘You Will Soon Be Directing Hits in Heaven’

Avildsen, who also directed "The Karate Kid," passed away yesterday.

John G. Avildsen and Sylvester Stallone on the set of "Rocky"

Artists/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Following John G. Avildsen’s death yesterday, one of the director’s best-known collaborators has paid tribute to the departed filmmaker. Sylvester Stallone honored the “Rocky” director the way everyone does these days, with an Instagram post: “The great director John G. Avildsen Who won the Oscar for directing Rocky!” he wrote alongside a photo of the two. “R. I. P. I’m sure you will soon be directing Hits in Heaven- Thank you , Sly”

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“Rocky” also won Best Picture and Best Editing at the Academy Awards, with Stallone earning nods for both his screenplay and his performance in the title role. Avildsen, who went on to direct “The Karate Kid” and its first two sequels as well as “Rocky V” and “Save the Tiger,” died of pancreatic cancer yesterday at age 81. His last film was 1999’s “Inferno,” which starred Jean-Claude Van Damme alongside Pat Morita, who received an Academy Award nomination for playing Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid.”

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Gary Barber, chairman and CEO of MGM, released a statement of his own yesterday: “We mourn the loss of John G. Avildsen, one of America’s treasured filmmakers,” he said. “Everyone remembers the first time when they saw Rocky. For over 40 years, the enduring classic underdog story about an every man overcoming all odds defined generations of moviegoers. He will always be remembered by his MGM family.”

 

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