Monday, May 26, 2008

Sydney Pollack (1934-2008)

Movie director Sydney Pollack, a Hollywood hitmaker for four decades, died this afternoon from cancer. He was 73.

Mr. Pollack will be best remembered for “Tootsie,” a classic American comedy. But I’m embarrassed to realize how many of his films I haven’t seen, such as “Three Days of the Condor,” “Absence of Malice” (even though I was a journalist) and “Out of Africa.”

His first feature film as a director – “The Slender Thread” in 1965 – starred Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft. I never saw that one either, but I’ve embedded the trailer below to honor his passing.

Sydney Pollack was one of the celebrities Elvis Mitchell interviewed for his upcoming chat show on Turner Classic Movies, “Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence.” That show is due to premiere in July.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pollack was also a pretty good actor too.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Pollack was also a pretty good actor too.

In some ways, I think he was an even better actor than he was a director. Tootsie's an all-time classic, but beyond that I often enjoy watching stuff that Pollack's in more than stuff he directed. (Check him out as the incarcerated oncologist in the final Sopranos season, for instance.)

Undercover Black Man said...

I enjoyed his acting well enough... but he always seemed to play the same part.

Forgot about him in "The Sopranos," though.

Wanda said...

Pollack was pretty awesome. Very cool to read or hear him speak about his experience in the film industry. I didn't even know he was sick.

Undercover Black Man said...

I didn't even know he was sick.

Me neither. And his producing partner Anthony Minghella just died a couple of months ago. It's a shame.

Dougfp said...

The only meeting I ever missed in Hollywood was a one at Pollack's company, Mirage. Just completely forgot it was scheduled and didn't show up. What was worse, it was the day after Pollack won the Oscar for "Out Of Africa"!

Needless to say, I was mightily embarrassed.

Andrew said...

What I find particularly odd about Pollack is that the quality of his directed films seemed to decline at the same moment that he emerged as a quality character actor. His performance in "Husbands and Wives" is simply staggering. I can only imagine what types of performances we might've seen from him had he decided to try his hand at it in his younger years.

Undercover Black Man said...

I can only imagine what types of performances we might've seen from him had he decided to try his hand at it in his younger years.

Turns out, Andrew, that Pollack started out as an actor (and acting teacher).

Undercover Black Man said...

Just completely forgot it was scheduled and didn't show up.

Oy, Doug. The days before email. It's amazing anything ever got done.

Debra Bryant said...

god bless Sydney Pollack. His work was amazing.

cuz said...

I knew he was ill, but I didn't know it was cancer. I really liked Sydney Pollack. I did an interview with him years ago and enjoyed the depth of his conversation (though my youthful questions may not have been on the same level). He loved the Russian cinema t-shirt I was wearing. He was a big fan of Russian cinema. That was an evening I'll always remember. He was a warm, thoughtful person. Nice humming voice. I have friends who knew him well. He will be missed.

Kellybelle said...

I second that Pollack was a great actor. He was the only thing worth waching in "Eyes Wide Shut."

Afroamericawriter said...

I was so shocked last night to hear of Pollack's passing. He was one of those actor/director type I admired from afar. I never knew he was sick or 73; he always seemed so full of vitality. He will sure be missed

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Dave, you haven't seen Absence of Malice or Three Days of the Condor? Come on now! There's NetFlix and Blockbuster Online to help you out.

I agree with comments about Pollack's acting. In fact, he was one of my favorite actors.

dez said...

I was so shocked last night to hear of Pollack's passing. He was one of those actor/director type I admired from afar. I never knew he was sick or 73; he always seemed so full of vitality. He will sure be missed

ITA. When we heard the news last night, my friend and I gasped. Like you, we didn't know he was sick or even how old he was. What a great talent and what a loss.