Composer Leonard Kastle, whose claim to fame was his first and last movie, has died at his home in Westerlo, N.Y., at age 82, his niece said.
Kastle's low-budget, 1969 crime-thriller "The Honeymoon Killers" often overshadowed his work as a composer of melodic, romantic operas and as a musical director of works for theater, The New York Times said.
Kastle died Wednesday, his niece Cecelia Levin said. Besides his niece, he also is survived by a sister, Norma Merker of San Francisco.
"The Honeymoon Killers" is about Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck, who found victims by reading newspaper personal ads. When Fernandez had won the trust of those they contacted, the pair would rob them. They ended up killing three people.
Kastle hired fledgling director Martin Scorsese then decided to get another director when Scorsese took an entire afternoon filming a beer can in a bush, the Times said.
"Even 20-plus years after its original release, this picture's implacability and refusal to compromise are as startlingly pure as ever," critic Kenneth Turan wrote in the Los Angeles Times after it was re-released in 1992.
Asked why he never made another film, Kastle said it wasn't for lack of trying.
"I have six or seven screenplays, and maybe something will happen," Kastle said. "But one thing I can always say and not every director can say this -- I never made a bad film after 'Honeymoon Killers.'"