SANTA MONICA (CBS/AP) — Richard Sarafian, an influential director whose 1971 counter-cultural car-chase thriller “Vanishing Point” brought him a decades-long cult following, has died.

Sarafian was 83.

Deran Serafian said that his father died Wednesday at a Southern California hospital of pneumonia contracted while recovering from a fall.

Name the 60s era TV show and Serafian probably worked on it at various times; he directed a variety of shows like “Gunsmoke,” “Hawaiian Eye,” “77 Sunset Strip,” ”I Spy,” “The Danny Thomas Hour” and the classic “Living Doll” episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

He also directed movies like the Burt Reynolds western, “The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing” and the Farrah Fawcett-Charles Grodin bomb “Sunburn.”

But he was best known by far for “Vanishing Point,” a dark story of a drug-fueled auto pursuit through the Nevada desert.

The film and director had a major influence on the maverick movie-makers who would dominate 1970s Hollywood.

Sarafian’s fans included Warren Beatty, who cast him in two of his own films (including “Bulworth” and “Bugsy” where Serafian played mobster Jack Dragna), and Quentin Tarantino.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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