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'L.A. Confidential,' '8 Mile' Director Curtis Hanson Dies At 71

Director Curtis Hanson (left) with Michael Douglas during the production of 'Wonder Boys' (Paramount Pictures)
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Oscar-winning filmmaker Curtis Hanson, best known for L.A. Confidential and 8 Mile, has passed away. He was 71. TMZ reports that the director died on Tuesday afternoon from what appeared to be a heart attack in his Hollywood Hills home.

Hanson's most celebrated work is his 1997 adaptation of James Ellroy's novel L.A. Confidential. The film earned nine Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and a Best Director nod for Hanson. He took home a prize for Best Adapted Screenplay (Kim Basinger also won Best Supporting Actress).

Hanson was born on March 24, 1945 in Reno, Nevada but grew up in the Valley. A high school dropout, he was made editor of Cinema magazine by his uncle, who "revived" the magazine, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "In a sense, it was my film school," he told the A.V. Club in 2001.

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His first major credit was as a screenwriter on the Roger Corman-produced The Dunwich Horror in 1970, and he directed his first feature with the 1973 b-movie Sweet Kill, also produced by Corman. He co-wrote Samuel Fuller's controversial White Dog (1982), about a dog trained to attack black people. He would gain critical acclaim for the Hitchcockian thrillers The Bedroom Window (1987) and Bad Influence (1990).

Hanson would go on to greater box office success in the 1990s with films like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) and The River Wild (1994), but it was L.A. Confidential that made him a major name. He would follow that up with Wonder Boys (2000) starring Michael Douglas, and the Eminem vehicle 8 Mile. His last directing credit was the 2012 surfing movie Chasing Mavericks, which he left production early due to health complications after heart surgery.

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