Director Francis Mankiewicz, whose 1980 feature “Les Bons Debarras” was one of the most acclaimed films in the history of Canuck cinema, died Saturday in Montreal of cancer.

Mankiewicz’s last project, the CBS miniseries “Conspiracy of Silence,” swept the Gemini TV Awards last March in Toronto, taking seven prizes, including a best director trophy for Mankiewicz.

“Conspiracy of Silence” aired last year on CBS, and his previous Canadian Broadcasting Corp. miniseries, “Love and Hate,” aired on NBC.

Born in Shanghai, China, Mankiewicz grew up in Quebec and studied at the London School of Film Technique. His first film, “Le Temps d’une chasse,” was screened at the Venice Film Festival, but it was his third feature, “Les Bons Debarras,” that put him on the cinematic map. The film won eight Genie Awards — Canada’s version of the Oscars — and is regularly included in Top 10 lists of favorite Canadian films. His last French-language feature was “Les Portes Tournantees,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won two Genies.

“There is a small handful of world-class directors in Canada, and Francis was at the absolute pinnacle of that group,” said Bernard Zukerman, who produced “Conspiracy of Silence” and “Love and Hate.”

Survived by his companion, actress Monique Spaziani.

Memorial service will be held Friday in Montreal.

Phil Killian

Phil Killian, 47, actor and director, died Aug. 14 in Los Angeles of melanoma.

After graduating from Northwestern U., Killian moved to New York, where he appeared in numerous Broadway and Off Broadway productions. Among his credits are “The Fantasticks,””Scapino” and “The Rothschilds.”

In the early ’80s, Killian segued into directing at regional theaters including the New Mexico Repertory Theater, Portland Stage Co. in Maine and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He was associate director of the Los Angeles and New York productions of “Tamara,” and was associate artist at the Indiana Repertory Theater.

Survived by his father, and a brother.

A memorial service will be held at noon Aug. 19 at the Court Theater, 722 N. La Cienega.

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