Sydney Pollack, the Film director, producer, character Actor, and Executive producer who illuminated the screen, directing such Hollywood luminaries as Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Nicole Kidman, and Jane Fonda; died Monday following a nine bout battle with Cancer at the age of 73. He passed away at his residence in Los Angeles, California.
Sydney Pollack was born to a pharmacist and Alcholic mother in 1934 in Indiana. he briefly studied acting in New York, before serving a brief term of two years in the U.S Army. But ultimately he returned to the small New York theater scene where he taught and would go on to act and direct in the new medium of television. He made guest appearances and played parts in such series as the “Twilight Zone”, “Have Gun… Will Travel”, and “Play House 90”; and also directing such series as “Alfred Hitchcock presents” and “The Fugitive”.
In 1966, he started his impressive career as a film director, directing Anne Bancroft and Sidney Poitier in “The Last Thread”. It would be the first in about twenty films he would direct.
Pollack would win critical acclaim for his future films. In 1969, he directed “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” about depression era, roller skating marathon that vaulted Jane Fonda to stardom and him to becoming a big name in the world of film directors.
In 1972, he directed Robert Redford in the first of what would become six films, in “Jeremiah Johnson” (1972), the western era tale of a rugged mountaineer.
Some of his other best known films would include: “The way we Were” (1973), “Three Days of the Condor”(1975), “The Electric Horsemen” (1979), “Absence of Malice”(1981), and a film adaption of the John Grisham best selling legal thriller “The Firm” (1993).
He would win two academy awards for Best Director. In 1982 for the classic cross dressing comedy “Tootsie” and the 1985 Romantic Drama set in Kenya “Out of Africa” (1985) which would also win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
In 2005, he gained attention again when he directed the Nicole Kidman Sean Penn thriller “The Interpreter”.
Pollack would produce countless other films, and would continue acting in several tv show guest appearance spot on shows such as Fraiser. He also would act in such films as “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999), “Changing Lanes” (2002), “Michael Clayton” (2007), and the recent Patrick Dempsy film “Made of Honor” (2008) which he also produced.
In 1993, his son Steven died in the crash of a small plane in Santa Monica, California.
Pollack is survived by his wife Claire Griswald (whom he had been married to for half a century), two daughters Rebbecca and Rachael, six grandchildren, and a brother.
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