'Amityville' Director Dies at 79


Stuart Rosenberg, the director of the original "Amityvill Horror" and "Cool Hand Luke," has died at the age 79.

The director of films and series television died of a heart attack Thursday, March 15 in his Beverly Hills home, report news sources.

Rosenberg was born in Brooklyn in 1927. While studying Irish literature at New York University, he met his future wife, Margot Pohoryles and earned much needed extra income as an apprentice film editor in television.

By 1957, he had become an editor and finally a director on the police series "Decoy." This began his career in series television that included "Naked City," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Bus Stop," "The Untouchables," "Twilight Zone," "Espionage," "The Defenders," "For the People" and "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre."

Rosenberg got a taste of film directing in 1958 with "Murder, Inc.," but was replaced when the actors' and screenwriters' unions went on strike and forced him to leave the film. Instead, he made his first fully realized theatrical debut with "Cool Hand Luke," starring Paul Newman as the charming and rebellious Lucas Jackson.

The film earned for four Oscars, with George Kennedy taking home one award for best supporting actor. The film is also known for the famous line, "What we've got here is failure to communicate."

The remainder of Rosenberg's film resume includes "The April Fools," "WUSA," "Pocket Money," "The Laughing Policeman," "The Drowning Pool," "Voyage of the Damned," 1979's version of "The Amityville Horror" starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder, the Robert Redford-starring "Brubaker," "The Pope of Greenwich Village" and "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys," his final film.

Later in life, he taught directing at the American Film Institute to the likes of Darren Aronofsky ("Pi," "Requiem for a Dream"), Todd Field ("Little Children," "In the Bedroom") and Mark Waters ("The House of Yes," "Mean Girls").

Rosenberg is survived by his wife and his son Benjamin and four grandchildren.

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