(AP) Richard Sarafian (Suh-RAY -fee-uhn), an influential director whose 1971 countercultural car-chase thriller "Vanishing Point" brought him a decades-long cult following, has died at 83.
His son Deran (DARE-uhn) said Saturday that Richard Sarafian died Wednesday at a Southern California hospital of pneumonia contracted while recovering from a fall.
Sarafian worked in television in his early career, directing episodes of 1960s shows like "Gunsmoke," ''I Spy," and the notoriously terrifying "Living Doll" episode of "The Twilight Zone."
But he was best known by far for "Vanishing Point," a dark story of a drug-fueled auto pursuit through the Nevada desert.
The film and director had a major influence on the maverick moviemakers who would dominate 1970s Hollywood.
Sarafian's fans included Warren Beatty, who cast him in two of his own films, and Quentin Tarantino.