July 18, 1938
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Hampton Fancher has not had the most prolific Hollywood career, but his story has certainly taken some interesting twists. Raised in the Mexican-American enclave of East Los Angeles, Fancher discovered a passion for flamenco at the age of 13 when he saw actor Anthony Dexter dance in the title role of the 1951 biopic "Valentino." Fancher's love of the dance became so great that he quit school, hopped a freighter to Barcelona, and studied with Spanish flamenco masters for several years, briefly renaming himself Mario Montejo. Returning home, he spent nearly two decades as a bit-part television actor and occasional acting teacher before he began writing his first screenplay, an adaptation of Philip K. Dick's '68 science-fiction novel, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" After extensive rewrites by Fancher and fellow screenwriter David Webb Peoples under the supervision of director Ridley Scott, the re-titled "Blade Runner" was unveiled to initial critical and commercial disappointment; it has since become a beloved cult classic. Fancher's next screenplay was the police action drama "The Mighty Quinn," released in '89 with Denzel Washington in the title role. Ten years later, he wrote and directed the serial-killer drama "The Minus Man," starring Owen Wilson and singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow. Fancher had a brief, tumultuous marriage to actress Sue Lyon in the mid-'60s; he later claimed that, as a fan of novelist Vladimir Nabokov, he was mainly attracted to Lyon because she had played the title role in Stanley Kubrick's "Lolita."