Duncan Gibbins, the British filmmaker who was severely burned in the Malibu wildfire while trying to rescue a cat, died Wednesday night. He was 41.Gibbins’ death is the first in the rash of wildfires that have plagued Southern California since Oct. 26. The screenwriter-director suffered burns over 95 percent of his body Tuesday when he tried to save a stray cat near the Topanga Canyon guest house he was renting. He died at 8:44 p.m. at the Sherman Oaks Hospital and Health Center’s burn unit, spokesman Larry Weinberg said. Gibbins directed the 1991 movie “Eve of Destruction” and made music videos for groups including the Eurythmics and Wham!. Gibbins mother had reportedly traveled from her home in Cornwall, England after Gibbins was burned. Peter Alexander, a friend who owns the house that Gibbins was renting, said the director had gotten safely away from his cottage but headed back to rescue the cat. Alexander escaped the blaze unscathed, but another friend who was at his 10 -acre spread hopped into a vehicle to look for Gibbins and became engulfed in flames. Ron Mass, 40, sustained burns over 75 percent of his body, and was listed as critical in the burn unit at Sherman Oaks. Alexander said a friend had returned to his property and said the fire had reduced his home to “a pile of rubble.” But not Gibbins’ cottage. “The great irony is that the house is standing,” he said. “Everything else on the property is burned, (but) Duncan’s house is still standing.”
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