John G. Avildsen had died. The Oscar-winning filmmaker behind classic films like Rocky (1976) and The Karate Kid (1984) died on Friday, according to The Los Angeles Times, who reported that he died of pancreatic cancer. Avildsen was 81.
He is survived by his three sons Anthony, Jonathan, Ashley and his daughter Bridget. To learn more about Avildsen’s family, many of whom are involved in show business themselves, here are five fast facts you need to know.
1. He Was Married To Actress Tracy Brooks Swope from 1987 to 2003
According to his biography on IMDB, Avildsen’s first marriage was to a woman named first Marie Olga Maturevich in 1964. Also known as Maria McCall, she and Avildsen worked together on the 1963 short film Wide Eyed, which can be streamed in its entirety below. They had two children together, but subsequently divorced, and Avildsen married a second time to actress Tracy Brooks Swope in 1987.
Swope herself had come from a family who worked in Hollywood. Her father Herbert B. Swope, Jr. was a producer and director, while her mother was renowned actress Margaret Hayes. Swope’s most notable films include The Big Picture (1989), Toy Soldiers (1991) and The Power of One (1992).
She and Avildsen had one daughter together, Bridget, before getting divorced in 2003. Swope remains active in television and film today.
2. His Son Anthony G. Avildsen Is A Cinematographer
Anthony G. Avildsen was the first child born to Avildsen and Maria McCall. He made his feature film debut in the 1989 film Lean on Me, playing an extra named, fittingly enough, Anthony. The film was directed by his father.
As his career developed, however, Anthony moved away from acting, and focused more on developing his skills behind the camera. More recently, he has served as the cinematographer on the documentary films Stallone: Frank That Is, which is scheduled for release in 2018, and John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs, which is scheduled to come out later this year.
3. His Second Son Jonathan Avildsen Is An An Actor
Jonathan Avildsen, born July 11th, 1969, was the second child born to Avildsen and his first wife. And like his older brother Anthony, Jonathan also got his start in show business by appearing in his father’s films. His screen debut was in The Karate Kid Part III (1989), and he followed it up with appearances in Rocky V (1990) opposite Sylvester Stallone and Inferno (1999) opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Jonathan’s film career extended past appearing in his father’s films, however, as he made subsequent appearances in televisions shows like Diagnosis Murder (1999), ER (2000), and The District (2002). You can watch a screen test between Jonathan and Karate Kid actor Ralph Macchio above.
4. His Youngest Son Ashley Avildsen Is the CEO of Sumerian Records
I’ve never actually met him. I have no ill will towards the guy. His movies actually inspire me, and I think he’s incredibly talented. I’m grateful I have his DNA. I’ve seen him two times in the past 20 years. Once I was 12 years-old and I was outside of the family court in New York. It was over child support.
He was sitting two seats down from me and reading a newspaper, and I was waiting for him to acknowledge my presence or notice my existence. Like “Hey I’m here,” and he never made eye contact with me and went in to the court room. That was the last time I saw him until last year when he was doing a Q&A (for his films).
Despite this, Ash has inherited his father’s knack for screenwriting and directing, as he has done both on the romantic comedy What Now (2015) and the upcoming supernatural thriller American Satan (2017).
Ash’s greatest claim to fame, however, is that he is the founder and CEO of Sumerian Records. Started in 2006, it is a label that’s released over 100 albums and currently features a roster of over 40 different artists.
5. His Daughter Bridget Avildsen Is A Model
Avildsen’s youngest child, and his only with ex-wife Tracy Brooks Swope, was born Bridget Emily Margaret Avildsen on October 2nd, 1993. Like her other siblings, she had the distinction of appearing on films as a child, though never in a film directed by her father. His debut was the 2003 documentary Badasss! and has since appeared in Delusional (2014) and What Now (2015) directed by her half-brother Ashley.
According to her Facebook profile, Bridget attended Bard College in New York from 2012 to 2016, and currently lives in Los Angeles. She is signed to the modeling agency Model Mayhem, where her bio reads:
I’m Bridget Avildsen… modeling has always been a passion of mine, as well as acting, dancing, and singing. I love being in front of and behind the camera. I used to work as a professional model when I was much younger but now I’m getting more into it. I’m a free spirit and love living life to the fullest. I love both high fashion and commercial modeling.