Filmmaker Albert Pyun passed away on Saturday in Las Vegas at the age of 69, reports Variety. The news was confirmed by his wife and producer Cynthia Curnan on Facebook, and comes years after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and dementia.
“I sat with him for his last breath that sounded like he was releasing the weight of the world,” reads Curnan’s post.
Born May 19, 1953, Pyun got his start in the industry by working in various production houses in Honolulu, Hawaii, and later as an intern in Japan for a TV series starring Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune. After years as a commercial film editor in Hawaii, he moved to LA to become a full-time movie director. His debut feature, 1982's The Sword and the Sorcerer, gathered a strong cult following after its successful theatrical run and remains his highest-grossing film.
Throughout his career, Pyun became best known for both collaborating with action movie stars of the 80s and 90s such as Jean-Claude Van Damme and Christopher Lambert, and his quick production turnarounds. During the 90s, he directed 22 films, including the second and fourth Kickboxer films, 1992's Nemesis and its three sequels, and the 1990 Captain America film. Much of his 90s films, such as Captain America, were produced by The Cannon Group.
But from the 2000s and onwards, Pyun would go to self-finance his films. His output slowed down considerably during the last two decades, with only five films in the 2000s and four in the 2010s. It was during 2013 that he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but his condition had improved by 2014 to where he could direct The Interrogation of Cheryl Cooper and 2017's Interstellar Civil War.
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