Hal Ashby, the Academy Award-winning director whose versatile style shaped the acclaimed films "Harold and Maude," and "Coming Home," died Tuesday of liver cancer in Mailbu, Calif. He was 59.

Ashby worked as an apprentice editor at the Republic and Disney studios in California.

He later became an assistant to editor Robert Swink, collaborating on the editing of "The Big Country," "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "The Greatest Story Ever Told."

The Ogden, Utah, native directed his first film, "The Landlord" in 1970. Two years later, he directed "Harold and Maude," which became a cult classic.

Other credits included "Shampoo," "Bound for Glory," "The Last Detail," and "Being There." Ashby's anti-war Vietnam film "Coming Home," won Oscars in 1978 for the film's stars, Jane Fonda and Jon Voight.