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Reggae filmmaker Perry Henzell dies

Dec. 2, 2006 at 12:40 PM

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Perry Henzell, who made "The Harder They Come," the first film about reggae music, has died at his home in Jamaica at the age of 70.

Henzell's family told the Los Angeles Times that the veteran director, who had battled cancer for the past seven years, died Thursday, the day before the premier of his final film, "No Place Like Home."

"The Harder They Come" was released in the early 1970s and brought the unique strains of reggae to a larger audience. The storyline covered a struggling reggae musician played by Jimmy Cliff who is stiffed by a record producer and turns to the marijuana trade.

The Times said the film's 1972 premier drew 40,000 Jamaicans to a theater that seated 1,500. The film went on to become a college-campus hit in the United States during the 1970s and played for a dizzying six years at a theater in Cambridge, Mass.

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