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John Flynn, 75; director known for 'The Outfit' and 'Rolling Thunder'

April 20, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

John Flynn, 75, a director best known for the action movies "Rolling Thunder" and "The Outfit," died in his sleep April 4 at his Los Angeles home, his son Tara Flynn said.

After working as a script supervisor for director Robert Wise on "West Side Story" and later as an assistant director, Flynn got a chance to direct "The Sergeant," a 1968 film starring Rod Steiger as a repressed military man in post-World War II France.

Flynn developed a cult following for his movies portraying tough guys wreaking mayhem and getting revenge. "Rolling Thunder" (1977) starred William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones as Vietnam veterans back home after the war. It was featured last month in director Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse film festival at the New Beverly Cinema.

Flynn also wrote the screenplay for "The Outfit" (1973), based on a Richard Stark novel, with Robert Duvall playing a small-time criminal who runs afoul of the mob.

The macho theme continued with Steven Seagal in "Out for Justice" (1991), Sylvester Stallone in "Lock Up" (1989) and James Woods and Brian Dennehy in "Best Seller," among others.

Among Flynn's directing credits were TV movies, including "Marilyn: The Untold Story" (1980) about Marilyn Monroe.

A native of Chicago, he studied at UCLA and served in the Coast Guard.

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