Deer Hunter director Michael Cimino dead at 77

Michael Cimino, director of the Oscar-winning Vietnam-era film The Deer Hunter, has died at the age of 77, several sources said on Saturday.
Michael Cimino, director of the Oscar-winning Vietnam-era film The Deer Hunter, has died at the age of 77, several sources said on Saturday.PHOTO: EPA

Washington (AFP) - Michael Cimino, director of the Oscar-winning Vietnam-era film The Deer Hunter, has died at the age of 77, several sources said on Saturday.

Cimino's death was first reported by Cannes film festival director Thierry Fremaux and later by the New York Times, which quoted the director's friend and former lawyer Eric Weissmann.

No cause of death was immediately given.

Weissman was quoted as saying Cimino's body was found at his Los Angeles home after friends were unable to reach him by telephone.

The Deer Hunter, released in 1978, was a gut-wrenching tale of friends whose lives were scarred by the Vietnam War.

One of its most famous scenes depicts characters played by Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken, held prisoner by the North Vietnamese, playing Russian roulette against each other.

The Deer Hunter received nine Oscar nominations and won five, including Best Picture.