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Lili Fini Zanuck

Lili Fini Zanuck

Producer Lili Fini Zanuck established her reputation for extraordinary taste and tenacity with her very first film, Cocoon, and fortified her stature with an Academy Award for her third effort, 1989's Best Picture, Driving Miss Daisy.

Lili Zanuck began her career as a research assistant at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. After moving to Los Angeles in 1977, she met and married producer Richard D. Zanuck.

At the urging of David Brown, her new husband's then-partner in the Zanuck/Brown Co., she began working as a part-time researcher on a project in pre-production at the time, The Island. Zanuck gradually became involved with the company full-time, acting as production assistant and coordinating various behind-the-scenes activities on Neighbors and on the multi-Oscar-nominated The Verdict.

After two and a half years of physical production work, Zanuck began tapping new, non-mainstream sources of creative material for the company, soliciting works from never-before-produced writers and cultivating working relationships with little-known agents.

Her unconventional approach led to her discovery of Cocoon, which she personally oversaw through every stage of development over a four-year struggle to get the film made. Co-produced by Zanuck, Cocoon was released in 1985 to critical and box-office acclaim and earned the Zanucks and David Brown the title of Producers of the Year by The National Association of Theater Owners. Two years later the film's successful sequel, Cocoon: The Return, was released.

In 1988, Zanuck and her husband formed the Zanuck Company in partnership with entrepreneur Jerry Perenchio. Their new company's first endeavor, Driving Miss Daisy, was distributed by Warner Bros., earning 9 Academy Award nominations and winning 4 Oscars, including Best Picture.

Zanuck made her directorial debut with the compelling drama Rush in 1992, and recently directed a segment of the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon. She is currently in preparation to direct an as-yet unnamed dramatic thriller starring Sylvester Stallone.

Zanuck's other feature film producing credits with Richard D. Zanuck include Rich In Love, Wild Bill and Mulholland Falls.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Lili Fini Zanuck Facts

OccupationDirector, Producer
BirthdayApril 2, 1954 (69)
BirthplaceLeominster, Massachusetts, USA

Selected Filmography

Rush / Who'll Stop The Rain
Reign of Fire
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