L.A. Confidential won director an Oscar

Movie director Curtis Hanson
Movie director Curtis Hanson

Curtis Hanson, who was found dead at home, picked up award for best writing for the 1997 film set in 1950s Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES • Movie director Curtis Hanson, who won an Oscar for L.A. Confidential (1997), was found dead in his California home on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Police Department said. He was 71.

Paramedics found him at his Hollywood Hills home at about 5pm local time. Hanson, who was pronounced dead at the scene, died of natural causes, a police spokesman said.

He had retired in recent years due to Alzheimer's, according to

Hanson, along with Brian Helgeland, won an Oscar in 1997 for best writing for their adapted screenplay of the novel of the same name by James Ellroy.

As a producer of the stylish period film, he also shared the nomination for best picture and was nominated for best director. L.A. Confidential won an Oscar for actress Kim Basinger and was nominated for its cinematography, art direction, sound, editing and score.

The film reproduced 1950s Los Angeles, from the streets to the costumes, and Hanson used an ensemble cast that also included Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, Danny DeVito and David Strathairn.

"Curtis Hanson's resplendently wicked L.A. Confidential is a tough, gorgeous, vastly entertaining throwback to the Hollywood that did things right," The New York Times said.

The film was a popular success, grossing US$126 million worldwide, according to Variety.

Hanson followed L.A. Confidential with the popular comedy Wonder Boys (2000), adapted by Steve Kloves from the novel by Michael Chabon about an English professor, played by Michael Douglas, who is under pressure to finish his book amid a literary festival in Pittsburgh.

The director continued his winning streak with 8 Mile (2002), which starred Eminem and fictionalised to some extent the rapper's harrowing true-life story of seeking to break into the rap world in his hometown of Detroit. Just how much of it represented true life was greatly debated.

Hanson's other films included The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992), The River Wild (1994) and In Her Shoes (2005).

He served as the first chairman of the UCLA Film and Television Archive beginning in 1999 and as a member of the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 2001.

He is survived by a son, born in 2004 with companion Rebecca Yeldham, a producer, according to Variety.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2016, with the headline 'L.A. Confidential won director an Oscar'. Print Edition | Subscribe