Richard Franklin, director, 58

Aussie filmmaker co-produced 'Blue Lagoon'

“Psycho II” and “Roadgames” helmer Richard Franklin died July 11 in Melbourne, Australia of prostate cancer. He was 58.

Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” Franklin began making films as a teenager. He decided to pursue a career in the film business when he realised his career with R & B group the Pink Finks came to an end.

The Oz film industry was in its infancy, so he enrolled as at the University of Southern California where fellow classmates included George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, John Carpenter and Randal Kleiser.

He returned to Australia for the anticipated re-birth of Australian cinema in 1970, directing 13 episodes of hit TV skein “Homicide” before he was 21.

His first films were a contentious adaptation of a bawdy poem, “The True Story of Eskimo Nell” (1975) and sexploitation comedy “Fantasm” (where he is credited as Richard Bruce). His Hitchcock pastiche “Patrick” was more successful and landed him the gig helming “Psycho II” for U. Before that, he and Everett De Roche wrote “Roadgames” while co-producing “The Blue Lagoon,” directed by Kleiser.

Yet another Hitchcockian homage (“Rear Window”), “Roadgames” was at the time the most expensive Australian film ever made. It starred Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Franklin then re-imagined Robert Bloch’s sequel to his original novel as “Psycho II,” his biggest critical and commercial success. “Link,” “Cloak and Dagger,” “F/X 2” and the TV pilot for “Beauty and the Beast” followed before Franklin returned home and abandoned his American genre roots to adapt Hannie Rayson’s family drama “Hotel Sorrento” for the stage in 1995. Pic received 10 Australian Film Institute noms and led helmer/scribe to adapt another play, David Williamson’s sexual harassment piece “Brilliant Lies.”

He later directed several eps of “The Lost World,” telepic “One Way Ticket” and the 2003 “Visitors” with Radha Mitchell. Most recently, Franklin was working on his autobiography and taught filmmaking at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne.

He is survived by his second wife Jennifer Hadden and three children.

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