His family had been making plans for his 90th birthday party on 29 April.
"I've always been fascinated by the idea of conscience," Zinnemann said in 1994. "To photograph that conflict as expressed in the actions or choices a person makes is very photogenic."
High Noon (1951) lifted the Western genre to new heights. A Man for All Seasons (1966) was a subtle, textured treatment of Robert Bolt's acclaimed play. The story of Sir Thomas More, the Catholic statesman, and his reluctant rebellion of conscience against Henry VIII won the director his second Oscar.
Zinnemann made his first film, The Wave, in 1934. His first major feature, The Men (1950), introduced Marlon Brando. He won his first Oscar for From Here to Eternity (1953), which brought Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr together in a legendary screen clinch.
Films like Oklahoma! (1955) and The Nun's Story (1959) showed his versatility, but Zinnemann spent as much time on projects that were never made as on ones that were. The Day of the Jackal (1971) was an elegant adaptation of Frederick Forsyth's novel. In 1977, he had a major success with Julia, based on Lillian Hellman's autobiographical story, which won Vanessa Redgrave an Oscar.Reuse content