Avildsen won an Oscar in 1977 for his directing work on Rocky. Years later he would return to the franchise and helm Rocky V in 1990.
His other film credits include: Lean on Me (1989), 8 Seconds (1994), and Inferno (1998), which was the last film he directed.
In a 2006 interview, Avildsen revealed that a movie with a boxing story didn’t interest him initially, but that he was "moved by the urban character study of Sylvester Stallone’s script."
He held out on directing Rocky II because of another project and ended up admitting that decision was "one of my greatest mistakes."
Avildsen was born in Oak Park, Illinois. He graduated from the distinguished Hotchkiss School as well as NYU.
He got his start in the film business as an assistant director on movies before moving on to make his own.
His first major motion picture was Turn on to Love, in 1969. It's described as being
Avildsen is survived by his daughter, Bridget, and his sons Anthony, Jonathan, and Ashley.