Syrian-born film producer Moustapha Akkad, whose three decades of work in Hollywood ranged from the “Halloween” slasher films to more serious movies with Muslim themes, died Friday from wounds suffered in the bombing of a Jordan hotel. He was 75. The Los Angeles resident died in a Jordanian hospital. Bombs exploded almost simultaneously Wednesday at three Amman hotels, including the Radisson SAS, where Akkad had been greeting his daughter, Rima Akkad Monla, in the lobby. The attacks killed 57 people, including Monla, 34, who was buried in Lebanon. She and her father had been in Amman for a wedding. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Akkad produced all eight “Halloween” movies. He also directed and produced two religious-themed films, “The Message” and “Lion of the Desert,” both starring Anthony Quinn. Akkad worked closely with Hollywood executive Bob Weinstein on a number of movies. “Everyone at The Weinstein Co. is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, Moustapha Akkad,” Weinstein said. “Our thoughts are with his family during this very difficult time.” Akkad, the eldest of eight siblings, was born in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo in 1930. He came to California in 1950 to study filmmaking, according to his sister, Leila Akkad. He earned a degree in theater arts from the University of California, Los Angeles, then went to work as a production assistant for renowned director Sam Peckinpah on the Western “Ride the High Country” in 1962. Akkad’s most serious efforts could be seen in his two dramas about the history of Islam. “The Message,” a 1976 film about the Prophet Muhammad, was widely acclaimed in the Middle East. But a group of American Muslims declared “The Message” to be sacrilege and took hostages at three locations when the film opened in Washington, demanding that it not be shown in the United States. Akkad was baffled by the reaction to the film, which he said cost $17 million to make and was nominated for an Academy Award for best original score. “I made the film to bring the story of Islam, the story of 700 million people, to the West,” Akkad told The Associated Press in 1977. “Lion of the Desert,” a 1981 film, told the story of a Muslim rebel who fought against Italy’s World War II conquest of Libya. Akkad and director John Carpenter began the hugely popular “Halloween” franchise in 1978. The first movie featuring the masked killer Michael Myers inspired a cult following and seven sequels, and launched the careers of Carpenter and actress Jamie Lee Curtis. Akkad was a constant presence in the franchise. The Weinstein Co. described him in a prepared statement as “the man who’s taken charge of Michael Myers and has stood behind him on each film.” Carpenter recalled Akkad as a “very, very nice man” who gave him creative control of the first “Halloween” movie. “‘Halloween’ put me on the map, and I’m very sad to hear of his death,” Carpenter said. Akkad said he turned to horror films because he found it hard to raise money for religious-themed movies, according to a 1998 New York Times report. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
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MONTREAL — Community groups are meeting in downtown Montreal today to raise awareness of the risks of drug use as part of International Overdose Awareness Day.Each month more than a thousand Quebecers wind up in the emergency room for drug intoxication.Many never get the chance to be treated.The National Public Health Institute of Quebec says 119 people died due to a drug overdose in the first three months of 2019. The number marks a sharp uptick from the same period last year, when 82 people lost their lives to drugs.March alone saw 98 hospital admissions for opioid poisoning, the worst month since September 2017.The Saturday afternoon event will commemorate recent overdose victims, as well as the founding of CACTUS Montreal.The group, which works to prevent sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, launched North America’s first needle exchange program in 1989.The gathering at Place Emilie-Gamelin features music, information kiosks and creative workshops as well as speeches, testimonials and performances, followed by a suppertime barbecue.The Canadian Press