“Too shocking for words”–Johnny Depp reacts to the “tragic loss” of producer Richard D. Zanuck

The sudden death of producer Richard D. Zanuck from a heart attack yesterday has led to an outpouring of sentiment and grief from his colleagues in the movie business; Mr. Zanuck was universally respected for the excellence of his work and — much more rare — beloved for his character. Here’s what Johnny Depp had to say about Mr. Zanuck, who produced Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows:

“The tragic loss of this great legend, this warrior, is too shocking for words. He was family. He was the first producer that I ever experienced actually producing. He would shield the filmmaker from all unnecessary distractions and delicately build an actor’s confidence on a daily basis. An incredibly strong and vital force on and off set, with a genuine kindness toward everyone, regardless of their position. He was the last of a breed. My condolences to his dear wife, Lili, whom he adored, and to his family, who meant the world to him. You will forever be in our thoughts, Dear Richard.”

Variety has the following comment from Tim Burton: “I’m in shock and heartbroken at the news of Richard Zanuck’s passing. He was like family to me — a mentor, friend and father figure. Richard was a completely unique and amazing individual and there will never be anyone else like him. I’m too sad to speak more about it right now and need some time to mourn.”

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD and Emma for sharing the eulogies; you can read more about Richard D. Zanuck on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

The photo above shows Johnny Depp with Richard Zanuck at the premiere of Mr. Zanuck’s final film, Dark Shadows, in Los Angeles last May. May “Dear Richard” rest in peace; we will always be grateful for his work and his kindness.