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Robert Wise

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Robert Wise, who won four Oscars as producer and director of the classic 1960s musicals "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music," died Wednesday. He was 91.

Wise died of heart failure after falling ill and being rushed to the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center, family friend and longtime entertainment agent Lawrence Mirisch said.

Mirisch said Wise had appeared in good health when he celebrated his 91st birthday Saturday.

Wise was nominated for seven Oscars during a career that spanned more than 50 years. Besides the four wins, he was nominated for editing the 1941 Orson Welles classic "Citizen Kane," directing 1958's "I Want to Live!" and producing 1966's "The Sand Pebbles," which was nominated for best picture.

More recently, he served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Directors Guild of America.

Wise directed 39 films in all, ranging from science fiction ("The Day the Earth Stood Still") to drama ("I Want to Live!") to war stories ("Run Silent Run Deep") to Westerns ("Tribute to a Bad Man").

With the big-budget productions "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music," he helped create two of the most critically acclaimed and popular musicals of all time.

Born Sept. 10, 1914, in Winchester, Ind., Wise dropped out of college during the Depression after his brother, an accountant at RKO, helped get him a job at the studio.


Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press


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