November 12, 2005 in Nation/World

Producer of ‘Halloween’ films, ‘The Message’ dies

Sandy Cohen Associated Press
 

LOS ANGELES – 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 sustained 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. She and her father had been in Amman for a wedding.

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, 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.

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.

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.

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