Early life and career
Avildsen was born in Oak Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, the son of Ivy (née Guilbert) and Clarence John Avildsen. After starting out as an assistant director on films by Arthur Penn and Otto Preminger, John Avildsen received his first success with the low budget feature Joe (1970) which received critical acclaim for star Peter Boyle and moderate box office business.
1970s-1980s Emerging to success
This was followed by another critical success, Save the Tiger (1973), that was nominated for three Oscars, winning Best Actor for star Jack Lemmon. Both 'Joe' and 'Save the Tiger' were about losers, but as the 70s ended, Avildsen did films on winners. Avildsen's greatest success was Rocky (1976), garnering ten Academy Award nominations and winning three, including Best Picture and Best Director. He later directed what was expected to be the series' final instalment, Rocky V (1990). His other films include Cry Uncle! (1970), Neighbors (1981), The Karate Kid (1984) The Karate Kid, Part II (1986), The Karate Kid, Part III (1989), Lean on Me (1989), and 8 Seconds (1994). John also was the original director for both Serpico (1973) and Saturday Night Fever (1977), but was fired over disputes with producers Martin Bregman and Robert Stigwood, respectively.
John was formerly married to Marie Olga Maturevich; the couple wed on February 15, 1964; they have two sons, actors Jonathan and Anthony Avildsen. After their divorce, John married actress Tracy Brooks Swope on February 27, 1987, seperating on August 28, 2003; they have a young daughter. Bridget Avildsen, who was born October 2, 2003.
- Turn on to Love (1969)
- Guess What We Learned in School Today? (1970)
- Joe (1970)
- Cry Uncle! (1971)
- Okay Bill (1972)
- Save the Tiger (1973)
- The Stoolie (1974)
- Fore Play (1975)
- W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975)
- Rocky (1976)
- Slow Dancing in the Big City (1978)
- The Formula (1980)
- Neighbors (1981)
- Traveling Hopefully (1982)
- A Night in Heaven (1983)
- The Karate Kid (1984)
- The Karate Kid Part II (1986)
- Happy New Year (1987)
- For Keeps (1988)
- Lean on Me (1989)
- The Karate Kid Part III (1989)
- Rocky V (1990)
- The Power of One (1992)
- 8 Seconds (1994)
- Inferno (1999)
- "John G. Avildsen Biography (1935-)". Filmreference.com. 1935-12-21. http://www.filmreference.com/film/48/John-G-Avildsen.html. Retrieved 2012-10-18.
- John G. Avildsen at the Internet Movie Database