Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sydney Pollack: 1934-2008

Sydney Pollack, Academy Award-winning director, producer and actor, died Monday at the age of 73.

A filmmaker known for his skill with actors, Pollack not surprisingly started his career as an actor and was also well known for his many character parts in recent years, from Will and Grace (wherein he played Will's philandering father) to his most recent production, Michael Clayton. But it was directing that brought him his biggest acclaim; he helmed such classics as They Shoot Horses, Don't They?; Jeremiah Johnson; The Way We Were; Three Days of the Condor; Absence of Malice; Tootsie and Out of Africa, which earned him his two Oscars, as both director and producer.

As producer, he also brought us such films as The Fabulous Baker Boys, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Sense and Sensibility, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Iris, The Quiet American, Cold Mountain and the recent Leatherheads, among many others. Onscreen, he had memorable turns in his own films (most memorably in Tootsie, as Dustin Hoffman's exasperated agent) and those of others, including Robert Altman's The Player, Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives and Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. His last screen appearance was in this spring's Made of Honor.

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