George Butler, the co-director and filmmaker from Pumping Iron, has died at age 78.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was made famous by Butler’s movie, which led to him starring in Terminator.
According to his son, the documentary filmmaker died of pneumonia on October 21 at Holderness, NH.
Butler was born in Chester, England in 1942. He began his career in photography as a stills photographer.
He was the son and only child of a British Army Officer. Deadline.
He attended the University of North Carolina and, later, with Robert Fiore, co-directed and produced Pumping Iron.
Schwarzenegger faced Lou Ferrigno in a contest for the title Mr Olympia.
The documentary introduced the bodybuilder Hollywood to him, and he was able to start his film career.
Butler had previously covered bodybuilding as an editor in the 1970s and wrote a book on the subject before raising funds to make the movie.
Schwarzenegger, who was only playing a handful of small roles in TV and film at the time, was instantly able to raise his profile.
As he attempted to defend his title, the project displayed his training at Gold’s Gym.
Ferrigno, his rival, was also a Hollywood star who became the famous Incredible Hulk from the TV series.
Before he died, Terminator star James Cameron praised the filmmaker via a tweet.
He wrote: “When I think about all of the people who were responsible for the growth of bodybuilding and the sport’s crossover to the mainstream, two of the first people to come to mind are, without any doubt, George Butler and Charles Gaines.”
Butler later created a sequel, Pumping iron II: The Women of 1985.
Butler’s other projects include Going Upriver (a movie about Senator John Kerry’s naval tour through Vietnam) and The Endurance (a retelling of Ernest Shackelton’s 1914 expedition to Antarctica).
The Endurance received a BAFTA nomination in 2001. Liam Neeson was the film’s narrator.
A 2006 project called Roving Mars was also undertaken by the film buff. It looked at the Mars Exploration Rovers from space.
In his 40-year professional career, he directed over 10 films.
The final film of his career, Tiger Tiger, is about a big cat conservationist who travels into the wilds in India and Bangladesh.
Butler is survived and loved by Caroline Alexander, his companion and writer/producer, and his sons Tyssen (and six grandchildren).
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