Howard Zieff, a film and television commercial director whose works included “Private Benjamin” and “My Girl,” has died. He was 81.
Zieff died Sunday of Parkinson’s disease in Los Angeles, said his wife Ronda Gomez-Quinones.
Goldie Hawn, who received an Oscar nomination for best actress for her role in “Private Benjamin” in 1980, said Zieff “had a special talent for directing comedies, always a rare gift.”
“What I remember and cherish most was his humor and love of laughter,” Hawn said in a statement.
Zieff is also credited with helping to change the face of American commercials in the 1960s with witty slice-of life vignettes, such as his “Spicy Meatball” spot for Alka-Seltzer.
Born in Chicago in 1927, Zieff grew up in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles and was a photographer for the Navy after World War II.
He moved to New York in the 1950s and worked his way up from a job as a photo assistant to become an influential commercial photographer on Madison Avenue.
He is survived by his wife and his sister.