American director Michael Laughlin, whose most notable works include Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) and Strange Behavior (1981), passed away on October 20 due to COVID-19 complications in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he had been living for many years, his friend Brooke Nasser confirmed to U. S. media recently. He was 82. Born and raised in Illinois, Laughlin, who was also a producer and a screenwriter, graduated from Principia College in 1960 apart from being recruited to play basketball at Stanford University. 

Laughlin started his career in the entertainment industry as a film producer after moving to London and worked on ventures like Bryan Forbes' thriller The Whispers (1967) and Michael Sarne’s Joanna (1968). He married French actress and ballerina Leslie Caron and the two split in 1975. Laughlin played an instrumental role in the release of eight independent ventures during the 1970s among which included director Monte Hellman's classic Two-Lane Blacktop, with the film's 2007 Criterion edition also carrying his interviews. 

In the period between 1976 to 1991, Michael Laughlin was in a relationship with Susanna Moore and served as director and screenwriter on his three films starting with the horror venture Strange Behavior (1981) starring Louise Fletcher and Michael Murphy. The next was a sci-fi mystery titled Strange Invaders (1983), which had Nancy Allen and Michael Lerner in the lead roles, followed by the Mesmerized (1985), with Jodie Foster and John Lithgow. Laughlin was also a co-writer on the rom com Town & Country (2001), which had Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn playing the leads. 

Outside of his work in Hollywood, Laughlin was also a farm owner and writer. In 1996, his book 'Radical Golf' was published by Crown, with his recently-completed memoir set to be published posthumously. Laughlin is survived by his three stepchildren - Christopher Hall, Jennifer Caron Hall and Lulu Sylbert.