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 Saturday, 28 December, 2002, 10:25 GMT
Butch Cassidy director dies
George Roy Hill with his directing Oscar for The Sting
Hill won his best director Oscar for The Sting
The Oscar-winning Hollywood film director, George Roy Hill, has died at the age of 81.

He was best known for his films Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, in which he created the immensely popular screen partnership of Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

He gave everyone a hell of a ride - himself included

Paul Newman
He was nominated for the best director Oscar for Butch Cassidy - a film said to have revived the Western genre.

Hill was finally awarded an Oscar for The Sting, a complex tale of plot to fleece a criminal banker.

Actor Paul Newman, who played Butch Cassidy and The Sting's lead conman, praised Hill.

"He was the best friend that anyone could have - friend, mentor, enemy," he said.

"He gave everyone a hell of a ride, himself included."

War pilot

Hill was born in Minneapolis and went on to study music at Yale University.

He entered the Marine Corps and flew transport planes in the South Pacific in World War II.

GEORGE ROY HILL FILMS
1984: The Little Drummer Girl
1982: The World According to Garp
1977: Slap Shot
1972: Slaughterhouse-Five
1973: The Sting
1969: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
1967: Thoroughly Modern Millie

After the war, he enrolled at Dublin's Trinity College for graduate work in music and literature.

There he began to act professionally and continued after returning to the US before he was called back to active service during the Korean War.

In the late 1950s he became a leading television writer, earning Emmys for writing and directing the Titanic story, A Night to Remember.

In 1957, Hill shifted to Broadway, directing the Pulitzer Prize winner Look Homeward, Angel, as well as Tennessee Williams' A Period of Adjustment.

In 1962 he directed the film version, which gave Jane Fonda her first major role.

He died at his home in New York. He had been suffering from Parkinson's disease.

He is survived by two sons, two daughters and 12 grandchildren.

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