Michael Laughlin dead: Two-Lane Blacktop producer dies aged 82 from Covid complications

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Filmmaker and producer Michael Laughlin, whose work included The Whispers and Strange Behaviors, has died. He was 82 years old.

Best stepfather anybody ever had

Jennifer Caron Hall

His friend Brooke Nasser, confirmed the news to US publication Variety.

Laughlin’s cause of death has been noted as complications from Covid, and he died at his home in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The talented film buff began his showbiz career when he moved to London to become a producer.

In the late 60s, as he worked on movies such as The Whispers in 1967 with Bryan Forbes, and Joanna in 1968 with director Michael Sarne.

The Illinois-born was probably best known for the 1971 movie Two-Lane Blacktop, which was directed by Monte Hellman.

The movie was part of a series of eight independent feature films he worked on.

In 2007, Laughlin was featured in a 2007 Criterion Collection release of the cult hit and it eventually was put in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress in 2012.

Over the next few years, he would work on many projects, including the 1981 horror film Strange Behaviors, the 1983 sci-fi film Strange Invaders, and the 1985 drama Mesmerized featuring Jodie Foster and John Lithgow.

In 2001, he co-wrote Town & Country, which starred Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and the late Garry Shandling.

Away from the movie scene, Laughlin was also a farmer and a keen writer.

During his successful career, he also became an established author, having written his book Radical Golf in 1996, while his recently finished memoir will be published posthumously.

In his personal life; the producer was married to French actress Leslie Caron until 1975, when the pair separated.

He then lived with writer Susanna Moore from 1976 to 1991.

Laughlin is survived by his stepchildren Christopher Hall, Jennifer Caron Hall and Lulu Sylbert.

Following news of his death, Jennifer paid an emotional tribute on social media in honour of her stepfather.

She wrote: “Michael Stoddard Laughlin. 1938-2021.

“Best stepfather anybody ever had.”

Alongside her words, she shared a 1998 article from Variety, that praised Laughlin’s work.

The report suggested that he “could be the poster boy for over-50 screenwriters everywhere”.

Fans also paid their respects to the star on social media following the news, branding him “one of the greats”.

RIP.

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