John G. Avildsen (born, December 21, 1935 in Oak Park, Illinois – died, June 16, 2017 in Los Angeles), became famous as the director and editor of Rocky (1976), and The Karate Kid (1984) and its sequels. He received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director – Motion Picture, for Rocky, the boxing epic, featuring Sylvester Stallone in the role of Rocky Balboa.
Also an editor, Avildsen started directing short films in the 1960s, debuting as a feature-length movie director in 1969 with Turn on to Love. He directed Joe (1970), Cry Uncle (1971) and Save the Tiger (1973), and was chosen by producer Irwin Winkler to direct Rocky (1976), the story of Philadelphia underdog boxer Rocky Balboa, written by Stallone, which became the first episode of a much-loved and internationally successful boxing saga.
Avildsen also directed The Formula (1980), Neighbors (1981), A Night in Heaven (1983), The Karate Kid (1984) with Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita, followed by The Karate Kid Part II (1986), The Karate Kid Part III (1989), Rocky V (1990), The Power of One (1992), another boxing drama, set in Africa during WWII, and the rodeo themed 8 Seconds (1994), featuring Luke Perry as a bull-riding champion.