‘Deer Hunter’ director Michael Cimino dead at 77

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Director Michael Cimino, who is best known for his work on the 1978 epic war drama “The Deer Hunter” and the infamous 1980 Western flop “Heaven’s Gate”, has died, his former lawyer says. He was 77 years old.

“Michael Cimino died peacefully, surrounded by his family and the two women who loved him. We loved him too,” tweeted Cannes Film Festival official Thierry Frémaux. His former lawyer, Eric Weissmann, also confirmed his death, according to the New York Times.

Other details, such as the time, place and cause of death, were not immediately disclosed.

“The Deer Hunter” was an enormous success, scoring 5 Oscars at the 51st Academy Awards in 1979, including Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture. But the subsequent release of “Heaven’s Gate” in 1980 marked an epic failure, earning just $3.5 million in the U.S. box office on a $44 million budget.

Cimino’s career never fully recovered from the disastrous release of “Heaven’s Gate”, which received harsh reviews and was dubbed by some as one of the worst films ever made. But in more recent years, critics have become more positive, especially in light of a 2012 digitally restored director’s cut.

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