Lili Fini Zanuck
April 2, 1954
Leominster, Massachusetts, United States
Producer, Director, Office manager, Research assistant
Richard D. Zanuck
One of the more successful female producers, Zanuck, who has also begun a secondary career as a director, reached the top at a very young age. After a brief stint as a research assistant with the World Bank in Washington, DC, she moved to Los Angeles with the hopes of becoming a film editor. Shortly thereafter, she married producer Richard Zanuck, whom she had met on a blind date. Zanuck entered the industry as an unpaid researcher for her husband's partner David Brown, then assumed the full-time responsibilities of handling contracts, reading scripts and negotiating deals for The Zanuck/Brown Company. There, Zanuck helped develop "The Island" (1980), "Neighbors" (1981) and "The Verdict" (1982), before initiating and co-producing her first project, Ron Howard's hit "Cocoon" (1985).After the Zanuck/Brown partnership ended in 1988, the husband and wife team formed The Zanuck Company, whose first film, the relatively low-budget "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989), directed by Bruce Beresford, won four Oscars, including Best Picture. Since then, she has co-produced such films as "Rich in Love" (1993), Walter Hill's "Wild Bill" (1995) and "Mulholland Falls" (1996). Zanuck made her small screen debut co-producing the TV-movie "Barrington" (CBS, 1987). Her successful directorial debut was the tautly-paced "Rush" (1991), a relentlessly grim account of idealistic undercover narcotics officers who sink into drug use in order to effectively make a case. While the film featured strong performances from its leads Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jason Patric, its downbeat subject matter kept audiences at bay. In 1997, Zanuck was one of the directors chosen (along with Tom Hanks and Ted Demme, among others) to helm segments of the HBO anthology "From the Earth to the Moon."