John Lafia, known for working on the Child's Play franchise, died by suicide, PEOPLE confirms

By Ale Russian
May 04, 2020 12:22 PM
Credit: Markus Wissmann/Alamy

Child's Play 2 director John Lafia, who also co-wrote the original 1988 horror film, has died. He was 63.

Lafia died by suicide at his home in Los Angeles on April 29, the Los Angeles County medical examiner confirms to PEOPLE.

The writer and director made his mark on the popular franchise, credited with coining the name "Chucky" and writing the iconic line “Hi, I’m Chucky, wanna play?"

“We’re devastated to hear of the passing of our friend John Lafia," Child’s Play creator and screenwriter Don Mancini said in a statement, according to Variety. "He was a crucial part of the ‘Chucky’ family from the very beginning. He co-wrote the original ‘Child’s Play’ script along with director Tom Holland and myself, and John directed Child’s Play 2, — the consensus favorite film among ‘Chucky’ fans."

Credit: United Artists

He continued, "John was an incredibly generous artist. He let me tag along with him to every meeting, and shadow him on set; he taught me more about filmmaking during the production of that movie than several semesters in film school. John was also one of the most naturally curious and constantly creative people I ever met, someone who was always taking pictures, and jotting down ideas.”

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Lafia got his start in filmmaking with the 1988 film The Blue Iguana, his first feature film which he directed and wrote. The movie, starring Dylan McDermott and Jessica Harper, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that year, months before the first Child's Play was released.

He went on to direct two more films in the '90s — 1993's Man's Best Friend and 1995's Bombmeister — before focusing on TV movies and mini-series.

Lafia is survived by his two children, Tess and Kane, according to Variety.