Richard Rush, who made rebellious-youth movies within the 1960s that featured rising stars like Jack Nicholson however who had his largest success in 1980 with “The Stunt Man,” a unusual, expectation-defying thriller that gained cult standing, died on April eight at his dwelling in Los Angeles. He was 91.
His spouse, Claude Rush, stated the trigger was an accumulation of well being points that included coronary heart and kidney failure. He had a coronary heart transplant 18 years in the past.
Mr. Rush didn’t make plenty of motion pictures; the final of his dozen function movies, the erotic thriller “Color of Night,” was launched in 1994. But he made his mark with the actors he forged and with a sure fearlessness in his filmmaking selections.
In “The Stunt Man,” Steve Railsback performs a fugitive who by chance finds himself on a movie set and finally ends up as a stunt man whereas placing up a romance with one of many stars (performed by Barbara Hershey). Mr. Rush was nominated for an Oscar for steering and for the script, which he and Lawrence B. Marcus tailored from a Paul Brodeur novel. Peter O’Toole acquired an Oscar nomination for his bravura efficiency because the director who could or will not be attempting to kill his new stunt man.
The film is filled with wild stunts and misdirection, conserving the viewers guessing about what’s actual and what’s movie-within-the-movie magic.
“We couldn’t wait to get to the set every day because we knew something exciting and creative was going to happen,” Mr. Railsback stated in a cellphone interview.
Mr. Rush, in a 2017 interview with the weblog We Are Cult, described what he was going for within the film.
“I had the audacity to think that I could make a picture that would explore illusion and reality,” he stated, “and I wanted to use the film as a mirror for the paranoid mind-set that we all live through at one point or another.”
If “The Stunt Man” and a few of his different movies had been onerous to categorise, switching shortly from comedy to drama to romance, that was as a result of actuality was like that, he stated.
“Living life is like falling down through a pinball machine, with balls bouncing off of each other, causing action and reaction in an unexpected way,” he informed We Are Cult. “And that’s how I view storytelling: having that great balance of all the various elements. Something is allowed to be funny and serious sometimes within the same moment or scene.”
Richard Walter Rush was born on April 15, 1929, in New York. His widow stated that his mother and father had been Ray and Nina Rush, Russian immigrants, and that his father had owned bookstores in New York and Los Angeles, the place the household settled when Richard was a boy.
During the Korean War Mr. Rush was a part of a filmmaking unit within the Air Force, stationed in San Bernardino, Calif. After his army service he enrolled in a brand new movie faculty on the University of California, Los Angeles.
His early movies had been typically low-budget affairs made shortly and aimed on the teenage market.
One of Mr. Nicholson’s earliest roles was in Mr. Rush’s first movie, “Too Soon to Love” (1960), a drama a few teenage couple coping with a being pregnant, a considerably scandalous topic for the time. Mr. Nicholson was again in Mr. Rush’s biker image, “Hell’s Angels on Wheels,” in 1967, two years earlier than the better-known “Easy Rider” labored a biker theme with a forged that featured Mr. Nicholson, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper (who directed that movie).
In 1974 Mr. Rush directed the motion comedy “Freebie and the Bean,” with James Caan and Alan Arkin starring in an early instance of the modern-day buddy-cop style quickly to spawn hits like “48 Hrs” and “Lethal Weapon.”
On “Hell’s Angels on Wheels” and a number of other different motion pictures, he labored with the cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, who went on to an extended and acclaimed profession with credit like “Easy Rider” and “Five Easy Pieces” (1970).
Among Mr. Rush’s different motion pictures had been “Psych-Out” (1968), a few deaf runaway (Susan Strasberg) within the hippie coronary heart of San Francisco, the place Mr. Nicholson and Bruce Dern are among the many populace; and “Getting Straight” (1970), with Elliott Gould and Candice Bergen, a movie that Vincent Canby of The New York Times dismissed as “the worst of the campus-revolution movies.”
“Color of Night,” which starred Jane March and Bruce Willis, drew appreciable consideration each for its racy intercourse scenes and the dispute Mr. Rush acquired into with the studio over the modifying. During arbitration with the studio, Cinergi Productions, Mr. Rush had a coronary heart assault.
He additionally had an disagreeable expertise with “Air America,” an motion comedy for which he wrote a script that turned a part of an extended growth tussle. When the film lastly got here out in 1990, it was directed by Roger Spottiswoode; Mr. Rush shared a screenwriting credit score.
He married Claude Cuvereaux in 1995 after a few years collectively. He can also be survived by a son, Anthony, and a grandson.
Mr. Rush had particular concepts concerning the scripts he agreed to direct and tips on how to shoot them. Mr. Railsback recalled that on “The Stunt Man,” the cinematographer, Mario Tosi, was greatly surprised by Mr. Rush’s hands-on fashion.
“Early on Richard would say, ‘Put your camera here, do this and do this,’” he stated, “and Mario was getting upset because Richard was telling him where to put the camera and all this other stuff.”
But when the day’s footage (referred to as dailies) got here again, Mr. Railsback stated, Mr. Rush’s instincts proved to be spot on.
“Mario looked at the dailies,” he stated, “and he walked over to Richard and said, ‘You just tell me where to put that camera.’”