Some sad news has come in: Producer, director, and screenwriter Zalman King, age 69, died this morning at his Santa Monica, California, home following a six-year battle with cancer. While best known for his erotically-charged projects like 9 1/2 Weeks, “Red Shoe Diaries,” and Wild Orchid, King did dip his toes into the horror genre on more than one occasion.
He got his start as an actor in the 60’s and 70’s (this writer being a big fan of his back in those days) but gained the most notoriety for writing, producing, and directing the aforementioned titles. His genre-related performances included appearances on the small screen in “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” back in 1964 and “The Munsters” in 1965 as well as the feature films Saint Francis, Galaxy of Terror, Blue Sunshine, and Trip with the Teacher.
In his later career King focused on documentaries about musicians, directing films about country singers Willie Nelson and Dale Watson and musician Toledo Diamond. He also directed music videos for rap groups, typically free of charge. “He loved to support artists everywhere he went,” his son-in-law, Allison Burnett, said.
Actor Charlie Sheen, a longtime friend of King’s, posted the following on his Facebook page today: “The world lost a brilliant and noble soul today. My dear friend of 40 years, Zalman King, just lost his battle with cancer. Fought like a recon Marine til the bitter end. Say a prayer for his amazing wife Pat and their lovely daughters. Safe travels my friend.”
King is survived by his wife, Patricia Louisianna Knop, and their two daughters, screenwriter Chloe King and designer and painter Gillian Lefkovitz.
We here at Dread Central would like to offer our sincere condolences to King’s family, friends, and constituents.
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