Richard Rush, who made rebellious-young films in the 1960s with rising stars like Jack Nicholson, but who had success with “The Stunt Man” in 1980, a bizarre, hope-defeating thriller that achieved cult status , Died on 8 April. At his home in Los Angeles. He was 91 years old.
His wife, Claude Rush, said the cause was an accumulation of health issues that included heart and kidney failure. He was transplanted 18 years ago.
Mr. Rush did not make a lot of films; Of his dozen feature films, the erotic thriller “Colors of Night” was released in 1994. But he made a mark with his acting and fearlessness in his filmmaking options.
In “The Stunt Man”, Steve Ralsbach plays the role of a fugitive, who accidentally finds himself on the set of a film and ends up romancing with one of the stars as a star (starring Barbara Hershey). . Mr. Rush was nominated for directing and scripting for the Oscars, which he and Lawrence B. Marcus adapted from the novel Paul Brodeur. Peter Ottole received an Oscar nomination as director for his Bravura performance, who may or may not be trying to kill his new stunt man.
The film is littered with wild stunts and misunderstandings, leaving viewers guessing what is real and movie-in-the-movie magic.
“We couldn’t wait to come on set every day because we knew something exciting and creative was going to happen,” Mr. Ralsbach said in a phone interview.
Mr. Rush, I A 2017 interview With the blog We Are Cult, he revealed what he was going to do for the film.
He said, “I am dared to think that I can make a picture that can detect illusion and reality.” one more. “
If “The Stunt Man” and some of his other films were difficult to classify, then move quickly from comedy to drama to romance, because that’s what the reality was.
“We equate life falling through a pinball machine, bouncing balls away from each other, causing action and reaction in an unexpected way,” he said of We Are Cult. “And that’s why I see storytelling: having a very good balance of all the different elements. Sometimes something strange and serious is allowed to happen in a single moment or scene.”
Richard Walter Rush was born on 15 April 1929 in New York. His widow said his parents, Ray and Nina Rush, were Russian immigrants and his father had bookstores in New York and Los Angeles, where the family settled when Richard had a boy.
Mr. Rush was part of a film production unit in the Air Force deployed in San Bernardino, California during the Korean War. After his military service, he enrolled in a new film school at the University of California, Los Angeles.
His early films were generally low-budget affairs aimed at the early and teen market.
One of Mr. Nicholson’s early roles was Mr. Rush’s first film, “Too Soon to Love” (1960), a drama about a teenage couple dealing with pregnancy, a very scary subject for the time. Was. Mr. Nicholson’s biker picture of Mr. Rush, “Hell’s Angels on Wheels”, in 1967, with the better-known “Easy Rider” two years earlier, worked on the biker theme with artists such as Mr. Nicholson, Peter Fonda and Dennis. Hopper (who directed that film).
In 1974, Mr. Rush directed the action comedy “Freebie and the Bean”, with James Kahn and Alan Arkin introducing hits such as “48 Hours” and “Deadly Weapon” to the soon-to-be modern-day friend-police genre. Acted in an early example of. “
In “Hell’s Angels on Wheels” and several other films, he worked with the cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, Who went on to a long and acclaimed career with credits such as “Easy Rider” and “Five Easy Peace” (1970).
Mr. Rush’s other films were “Take-out” (1968), about a deaf exodus (Susan Strasberg) in the hippie heart of San Francisco, where Mr. Nicholson and Bruce Dern are among the population; And “Getting Straight” (1970), a film with Elliot Gould and Candice Bergen Vincent Canby The New York Times Dropout “Worst of Campus-Revolution Films”.
“Night of Color”, starring Jane March and Bruce Willis, garnered considerable attention for their ritual sex scenes, and Mr. Rush became conflicted with the studio’s editing. During the mediation with the studio, Synergy Productions, Mr. Rush suffered a heart attack.
He also had an unpleasant experience with “Air America”, an action comedy for which he wrote a screenplay that became part of a long development battle. When the film finally came out in 1990, it was directed by Roger Spottiswoode; Mr. Rush shared the credit of writing a screenplay.
They married Claude Cuervaux in 1995 after many years together. He is also survived by a son, Anthony, and a grandson.
Mr. Rush had definite ideas about the scripts he agreed to direct and shoot them. Mr. Ralsbach recalled that “The Stunt Man” led the cinematographer, Mario Tossi, into the hands of Mr. Rush.
“Will quickly say over Richard, ‘Put your camera here, do this and do this,” he said, “and Mario was getting upset because Richard was telling him where to put the camera and all this other stuff.”
But when the footage of the day (known as dailies) came back, Mr. Ralesback said, Mr. Rush’s tendency proved to be on the spot.
“Mario looked at the dailies,” he said, “and he turned to Richard and said, ‘You tell me where I want to put that camera.”