Legendary film producer Dino De Laurentiis has passed away today aged 91. Born in Italy in 1919, Laurentiis served in World War II before establishing himself as a producer with Italian offerings such as Giuseppe De Santis’ 1949 classic Bitter Rice and later efforts such as Federico Fellini’s La Strada (1954) – which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film – and Nights of Cabiria (1957), along with the cult classic Barbarella (1968, dir. Roger Vadim).
After moving to the US in the early 1970s and establishing his own studio De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, he enjoyed a string of early successes with the likes of Serpico (1973, dir. Sidney Lumet), Death Wish (1974, dir. Michael Winner), Three Days of the Condor (1975, dir. Syndey Pollack), The Shootist (1976, dir. Don Siegel) and The Serpent’s Egg (1977, dir. Ingmar Bergman).
In the 1980s De Laurentiis became known for cult classics such as Flash Gordon (1980, dir. Mike Hodges), Conan the Barbarian (1982, dir. Richard Fleischer), Dune (1984, dir. David Lynch), Manhunter (1986, dir. Michael Mann), Blue Velvet (1986, dir. David Lynch) and Evil Dead II (1987, dir. Sam Raimi). Later efforts included the likes of Army of Darkness (1993, dir. Sam Raimi), Bound (1996, dir. Larry and Andy Wachowski), Hannibal (2001, dir. Ridley Scott) and Red Dragon (2002, dir. Brett Ratner), while he was also the recipient of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.