Zalman King

February 28, 2012 by staff 

Zalman King, Producer, director and screenwriter Zalman King, whose credits include ertcally-charged films such as “9 1/2 Weeks,” “Red Shoe Diaries” and “Wild Orchid,” died Friday morning at his Santa Monica home following a six-year battle with cancer. King, whose wife Patricia Louisianna Knop, was at his side at the time of his death, was 70.

Born Zalman Lefkovitz in 1942 in Trenton, N.J., King was primarily known for his racy fare of the ’80s and ’90s, though his son-in-law, Allison Burnett, told TheWrap that his reputation failed to capture the totality of King’s personality.

“Zalman was a far more complex and human artist and man than anyone who only knew him from afar can possibly comprehend,” Burnett told TheWrap. “He was a truly magnificent human being.”

In his later career, King focused on documentaries about musicians, directing films about country singers Willie Nelson and Dale Watson, and musician Toledo Diamond. Burnett told TheWrap that he also directed music videos for rap groups, typically free of charge.

“He loved to support artists everywhere he went,” Burnett said.

Actor Charlie Sheen, a longtime friend of King’s offered tribute to the director on his Facebook page Friday.

“The world lost a brilliant and noble soul today,” Sheen wrote. “My dear friend of 40 years, Zalman King, just lost his battle with cancer. Fought like a recon Marine til the bitter end. Say a prayer for his amazing wife Pat and their lovely daughters. Safe travels my friend.”

King is survived by his wife and their two daughters, screenwriter Chloe King and designer and painter Gillian Lefkovitz.

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