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John G. Avildsen

John G. Avildsen

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Also Known As: John G. Avildsen, Danny Mulroon, John Guilbert Avildsen Died:
Born: December 21, 1935 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession: director, editor, screenwriter, producer, director of photography, production manager, assistant director, advertising manager

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Few directors experienced the career highs and lows like filmmaker John G. Avildsen, whose résumé included two of the most popular films ever made - 1976's "Rocky" and 1984's "The Karate Kid" - as well as scores of misfires and abject failures. A former advertising manager, he entered film through the independent route in the early 1960s before making his first big splash with 1970's controversial "Joe." Subsequent efforts stumbled until he took on "Save the Tiger" (1973), a bleak look at the collapse of a businessman's life and self-esteem. Its Oscar win for star Jack Lemmon brought Avildsen to the attention of Hollywood, but it took the low-budget boxing drama "Rocky" to earn him an Oscar and industry respect. Unfortunately, he found it difficult to find worthy material in its wake; his few subsequent hits were cast in the mold of the Sylvester Stallone film, like "Karate Kid." However, the enduring popularity of both movies preserved Avildsen in the history books as a director with a unique skill for inspiring audiences through the triumphs of his underdog characters.

Few directors experienced the career highs and lows like filmmaker John G. Avildsen, whose résumé included two of the most popular films ever made - 1976's "Rocky" and 1984's "The Karate Kid" - as well as scores of misfires and abject failures. A former advertising manager, he entered film through the independent route in the early 1960s before making his first big splash with 1970's controversial "Joe." Subsequent efforts stumbled until he took on "Save the Tiger" (1973), a bleak look at the collapse of a businessman's life and self-esteem. Its Oscar win for star Jack Lemmon brought Avildsen to the attention of Hollywood, but it took the low-budget boxing drama "Rocky" to earn him an Oscar and industry respect. Unfortunately, he found it difficult to find worthy material in its wake; his few subsequent hits were cast in the mold of the Sylvester Stallone film, like "Karate Kid." However, the enduring popularity of both movies preserved Avildsen in the history books as a director with a unique skill for inspiring audiences through the triumphs of his underdog characters.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Desert Heat (1999)
2.
  8 Seconds (1994) Director
3.
  Power of One, The (1992) Director
4.
  Rocky V (1990) Director
5.
6.
  Lean on Me (1989) Director
7.
  For Keeps (1988) Director
8.
  Happy New Year (1987) Director
9.
  Karate Kid Part II, The (1986) Director
10.
  The Karate Kid (1984) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Greenwich Village Story (1963) Alvie
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1959:
Worked as an advertising manager at Vespa Motor Scooters
1959:
Served two years in US Army as chaplain's assistant
1963:
Acting debut, "Greenwich Village Story"
:
Worked in advertising agency writing and producing TV commercials
1964:
Served as assistant to Carl Lerner on set of "Black Like Me"
1965:
Was assistant director on "Mickey One", directed by Arthur Penn
:
Directed industrial films for IBM and Clairol; produced, photographed and edited several short films, "Smiles" and "Lights - Sound - Diffuse"
1968:
First feature as director and director of photography, "Turn on to Love"
1970:
Screenwriting debut (written with Eugene Price), "Guess What We Learned in School Today?"; also directed, edited and shot
1973:
Scored first hit with "Save the Tiger", starring Jack Lemmon
1976:
Won Academy Award as Best Director for "Rocky"
1983:
TV directing debut, "Murder Ink"
1984:
Had commercial hit with "The Karate Kid"
:
Helmed the sequels "The Karate Kid, Part II" (1986) and "The Karate Kid, Part III" (1989)
1989:
Directed and co-edited "Lean on Me"
1990:
Reunited with Sylvester Stallone as director of "Rocky V"
1992:
Edited and directed "The Power of One", set in South Africa
1994:
Directed "8 Seconds" the biopic of rodeo legend Lane Frost
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

New York University: New York , New York -

Notes

In 1983, Judge Hortense Gabel approved a contract under which Avildsen would give his estranged lover, model Miroslawa Prystay, a lump sum and five years of child support for their son Ashley under a NY law which allows fathers to cut compromise deals over illegitimate children.

In January 1993, NY Supreme Court Justice Shirley Fingerhood decided that Avildsen had purposefully inflicted emotional distress on Prystay by putting the child support money he owed her in escrow and suing her for requesting a check one month early. The former model testified that she had suffered "phlebitis, significant hair loss, and constant stress" and that she and the boy Ashley had to go on welfare.

Avildsen was at one time announced as the director of "Serpico" (1973)

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Miroslawa Prystay. Model. One child together.
wife:
Tracy Brooks Swope. Actor. Married in February 1987.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Clarence John Avildsen. Tool manufacturer.
mother:
Ivy Avildsen.
son:
Ashley Avildsen. Mother, Miroslawa Prystay.
son:
Anthony Guilbert Avildsen. Production assistant, actor. Mother, Tracy Brooks Swope.
son:
Jonathan Avildsen. Production assistant, actor. Mother, Tracy Brooks Swope.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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