REST IN PEACE JOHN AVILDSEN, THE MAN WHO MADE ‘ROCKY!’

By Michael Donovan

John Avildsen, who directed “Rocky,” died yesterday in Los Angeles.

A friend sent Avildsen the “Rocky” script. “On Page 3, this guy [Rocky] is talking to his turtles, and I was hooked,” Avildsen remarked. “It was a great character study.” Avildsen agreed to direct “Rocky” even though he knew nothing about boxing.

The film was shot on a tight budget, less than $1 million, and it was completed in 28 days.

“The first time I showed it to 40 or 50 friends, they all freaked out, so that was encouraging,” Avildsen recalled. “But I guess when I saw the lines around the block, it began to take on a reality.”

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