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John Avildsen

John Avildsen, director of ‘Rocky’, dies at 81

LOS ANGELES: John Avildsen, the Oscar-winning director whose blockbuster films like "Rocky" and "The Karate Kid" championed the ascent of underdogs, has died. He was 81 years old. The filmmaker died of pancreatic cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times, citing Avildsen's eldest son. The 1976 hit "Rocky" -- an adrenaline-pumping story that captures the rise of a down-and-out boxer from working-class Philadelphia -- earned Avildsen an Oscar for best director. The…