'Towering Inferno' director dies at 89

Director John Guillermin, known for "The Towering Inferno" and the 1976 "King Kong," died Sunday at his home in the Topanga Canyon area of Los Angeles. He was 89.

His friend Nick Redman of Twilight Time Movies, which released several of his films on DVD, confirmed his death. On Facebook, Guillermin's wife Mary called her husband "sensitive and passionate, full of a fierce rapture himself."

The British director had been active for decades beginning in the late 1940s. His directing credits include 1976's "King Kong" starring Jessica Lange, "Death on the Nile," "The Blue Max" and "Shaft in Africa."

"The Towering Inferno," released in 1973, won Oscars for Best Original Song, Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography, in addition to Golden Globes for Fred Astaire and Susan Flannery. The film also starred Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden and Faye Dunaway.

Guillermin also dabbled in writing and producing, having written and produced "Melody in the Dark, "High Jinks in Society" and "Paper Gallows." Guillermin's other writing credits include "Tarzan's Greatest Adventure" and "Tarzan Goes to India."

Born in London, he attended Cambridge University. He won the Evening Standard British Film Award in 1980 for "Death on the Nile."

He is survived by his wife and a daughter.

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