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Roger Corman, who died Saturday at 98, was famously involved with many of the greats of filmmaking at the start of their careers. In the case of Ron Howard, he helped the young actor transition from being a child star into a versatile director, giving him his first directing job with the action comedy “Grand Theft Auto” in 1977.

Howard noted that Corman was also known for giving women more opportunities than they typically had in the film industry at that time, including Penelope Spheeris and Gale Ann Hurd.

Howard paid tribute to Corman Sunday morning in a heartfelt message, writing, “Roger not only mentored a couple of generations of high profile filmmakers, but he also opened doors to many on the production side who were struggling to find career paths in the industry. When I was working for Roger, he had far more women in positions of authority throughout his company and various movie departments than any other studio at that time.

“For us rookie directors, he taught us to find our creative voices and express ourselves within the framework of popular entertainment genres. The audiences were always king and despite the tight budgets, Roger pushed to deliver on each movie’s promise to the audience. In the case of ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ that meant more cars, more zany characters and more outlandish crashes. But don’t think I didn’t learn lessons both in shooting and post-production that I’ve leaned on throughout my career.

“When I last saw Roger, it was at a tribute to his career at the Aero Theatre last year, and it was a vivid reminder of the breadth of his work and impact on Hollywood. It was also gratifying as hell to see Roger so sharp and crackling with energy. What a life.”

Howard went on to win best picture and best director for 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind” as well as directed dozens of high-profile films including “Apollo 13,” “Cocoon,” “Backdraft,” “Parenthood,” “Splash” and more.



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