Zalman King dies at 69

Hyphenate best known for erotic films, TV series

Zalman King, a hyphenate best known for erotic films including “9 1/2 Weeks,” which he co-wrote and produced, died of cancer in Santa Monica on Friday. He was 70.

King started as an actor in the 1960s and 1970s but then made a name for himself in ensuing decades by writing, producing and helming sexy fare including “Wild Orchid” (1990) and “Red Shoe Diaries” (1992), which later became a long-running series on Showtime. More recently, he partnered again with the pay cable service for another series, “Body Language.”

But “9 1/2 Weeks” may have been his most high-profile work. Directed by Adrian Lyne (“Fatal Attraction”), the 1986 movie starred Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke as lovers having a kinky affair. While the film was not a blockbuster during its theatrical release Stateside, its notoriety grew internationally and in its homevideo incarnations. It spawned two sequels that went direct to video.

King was born Zalman Lefkowitz in Trenton, N.J. He leaves behind a wife, Patricia Louisiana Knop, with whom he frequently collaborated on his films, and two daughters, Chloe King and Gillian Lefkowitz.

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