'Love Story' director Arthur Hiller dies at 92

Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:20pm EDT
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By Will Dunham

(Reuters) - Versatile and prolific Canadian film director Arthur Hiller, whose sentimental "Love Story" starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal was the biggest hit of 1970 and stands as one of the most popular romantic movies ever made, died on Wednesday at the age of 92, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said.

Hiller, whose work also included successful collaborations with playwrights Neil Simon and Paddy Chayefsky, died of natural causes in Los Angeles, the Academy said in a statement.

The director was the president of the Academy, which hosts Hollywood's annual Oscars ceremony, from 1993 to 1997, and served as a longtime member on the organization's Directors Branch.

Current Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said the organization was "deeply saddened" by Hiller's death.

"I was a member of the Board during his presidency and fortunate enough to witness firsthand his dedication to the Academy and his lifelong passion for visual storytelling," Boone Isaacs said. 

Hiller directed more than 30 films from 1957 through 2006 covering a range of genres including comedies, dramas, tearjerkers, war stories, satires and musicals. He guided five different actors - O'Neal, MacGraw, George C. Scott, Maximilian Schell and John Marley - to Oscar-nominated performances.

His films were nominated for 15 Academy Awards, winning two. Hiller's adventure comedy "Silver Streak" marked the first screen pairing of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor and became one of the top box office hits of 1976.

Hiller also collaborated with Chayefsky on two notable films - the anti-war comedy "The Americanization of Emily" (1964) starring James Garner and Julie Andrews and the dark satire "The Hospital" (1971) starring Scott.   Continued...

Arthur Hiller (C) holds his Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award while standing with Ryan O'Neal (L) and Ali McGraw (R) during the 74th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, U.S. March 24, 2002. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo