Film director George Roy Hill dies at 81
George Roy Hill, director of the hit movies “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “The Sting” that paired actors Robert Redford and Paul Newman, died on Friday at his home in New York, according to friends. The Oscar-winning director was 81 and died of complications from Parkinson’s disease, said Edwin Brown, his longtime business manager.
The 1969 Western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” featured one of Hollywood’s most famous pairings as charismatic robbers. Redford and Newman were reunited in the 1973 stylized tale of two con artists, “The Sting,” which earned Hill an Academy Award for Best Director and also won the Oscar for Best Picture. “His pairing of the two of them in ‘Butch Cassidy’ and ‘The Sting” was really an inspirational stroke because it worked so well,” said Brown. “He knew what he wanted to achieve when he was making a film, and he knew how to convey that to the professionals around him.”
A native of Minnesota, Hill studied at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. After serving in World War Two and the Korean War, Hill began acting. In the 1950s, he moved into writing and directing live television including programs such as “A Night to Remember,” about the sinking of the Titanic, and “Judgment at Nuremberg.” He also directed Broadway shows including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Look Homeward, Angel.”
He directed his first feature film, “Period of Adjustment,” in 1962 and went on to direct 14 films in all, including “Hawaii” in 1966, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 1967, “Slaughterhouse-Five” in 1972 and “The World According To Garp” in 1982. He directed Newman again in the 1977 hockey movie “Slap Shot” and directed Redford again in 1975’s “The Great Waldo Pepper” about a barnstorming pilot. His last film was “Funny Farm.” —Reuters