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Studio head Frank Capra Jr. dead at 73

Dec. 21, 2007 at 11:18 AM

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Movie producer Frank Capra Jr. has died of prostate cancer in Philadelphia at the age of 73, his son Jonathan told the Los Angeles Times.

The son of famed director Frank Capra, Capra Jr. spent the last decade as president of EUE Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington, N.C.

Bill Vassar, the studio's executive vice president, described Capra as "our ambassador to Hollywood."

"He could open any door," Vassar told the Times. "He knew his way in and out of the film industry; he knew the culture and he knew the people. And not just the people who ran it; he knew the producers, the directors, the directors of photography."

A Los Angeles native, Capra Jr. began his career as a second assistant director on TV shows like "Dennis the Menace" and "The Rifleman."

He later worked as an associate producer on films such as "Play It Again, Sam," "Marooned" and three "Planet of the Apes" adventures and produced "Billy Jack Goes to Washington," "Born Again" and "An Eye for an Eye."

In addition to his son Jonathan, Capra is survived by his wife, Deborah; children Christina and Frank III; his brother, Tom; his sister, Lucille, and a granddaughter.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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