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Richard Quine, 68, Film Director, Dies of Gunshot Wound

June 13, 1989|EDWARD J. BOYER | Times Staff Writer

Film director Richard Quine, whose string of comedy hits included "My Sister Eileen," "Solid Gold Cadillac" and "Bell, Book and Candle," has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Los Angeles police said Monday.

Quine, 68, died Saturday at UCLA Medical Center, hospital officials said.

Police said the one-time child actor-turned director had been despondent over poor health.

An actor's son, Quine was born Nov. 12, 1920, in Detroit and made his movie debut at age 12. His acting credits include "Jane Eyre" in 1934 and "Command Decision" in 1948 with Clark Gable.

Quine made the switch to directing shortly after World War II, while he was still a contract player for MGM. He and a friend, William Asher, who also became a successful director, decided to adapt a Saturday Evening Post short story for the screen.

Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn heard about the adaptation, called Quine in and asked how much the two men wanted for the script. When Quine said they did not want to sell it, but wanted to direct it themselves, Cohn responded: "How the hell do you think you can make a picture?"

Later, another Columbia executive told Quine, "Mr. Cohn tells me you're going to direct a picture."

There was no indication that the adapted story, "Leather Gloves" actually made it to the screen, but Quine did go on to direct more than two dozen movies.

His films included the 1954 remake of "So This Is Paris" starring Tony Curtis and Gloria DeHaven; "The World of Suzie Wong," starring William Holden, in 1960; the 1964 comedy "Sex and the Single Girl," starring Natalie Wood, Lauren Bacall and Henry Fonda; "The Solid Gold Cadillac," starring Judy Holliday and narrated by George Burns, in 1965, and "Hotel" in 1967.

He also directed James Stewart, Kim Novak and Jack Lemmon in "Bell, Book and Candle" in 1958, an adaptation of the successful Broadway play about a New Yorker who falls in love with a neighbor who is a witch.

"Making a movie is a bit like having a baby," he once said. "All you can hope for is that it won't have two heads and that it will be an entity in itself: who cares if it's a girl or a boy?"

There was no immediate indication of funeral arrangements or survivors for Quine, who was married at least three times.

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