Happy birthday Sydney Pollack!


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Sydney Pollack (July 1, 1934—May 26, 2008) was an American film producer, director, actor, and acting coach. Some of his best known films include The Way We Were (1973), Three Days of the Condor (1975), Tootsie (1982), Out of Africa (1985), The Interpreter (2005), and Michael Clayton (2007).

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Photograph by Howard Schatz. source

Pollack was born in Lafayette, Indiana to Rebecca and David Pollack. His parents divorced while he was still young and his mother, an alcoholic, died when Pollack was 16. He moved to New York at the age of 17 and studied acting under Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse. It was at Neighborhood Playhouse that he met his wife, Claire Griswold, who was an actress. He proved somewhat successful early while at the Playhouse as a teacher and even landing a few television roles himself, but he took a break in 1958 to serve in the U.S. Army.

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In 1960, Pollack was persuaded to come out to Hollywood to work as a child acting coach. Not long after, he met Burt Lancaster, who encouraged him to try directing.He first attracted attention in directing episodes of The Fugitive and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and soon transitioned into film. In 1965, he directed the film The Slender Thread, starring Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft.

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Sydney Pollack with Sidney Poitier for 'The Slender Thread.' Source.

Pollack went on to direct 20 films, and just four years after his debut, was nominated for Best Director in the Academy Awards for the film They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969).

His next Oscar nomination didn't come until 1982 for the film Tootsie, which he produced and directed, as well as acted in alongside Dustin Hoffman. The pair's real life contention is said to have added to the heat between them in the film.

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Dustin Hoffman, Teri Garr, and Pollack in 'Tootsie.' Source.

In 1985, Pollack made his first Oscar win with the film Out of Africa, starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. His collaboration with Redford extended to include This Property Is Condemned (1966), Jeremiah Johnson (1972), The Way We Were (1973), Three Days of the Condor (1975) , The Electric Horseman (1979), and Havana (1990).

 

 

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Pollack made his way back to acting during the 1990s with the films The Player (1992) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). He also appeared on several television shows including NBC's Will & Grace, Just Shoot Me, and Mad About You, as well as HBO's The Sopranos and Entourage.

In 2006, Pollack received the Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking award at the Austin Film Festival.

Pollack earned a posthumous Oscar nomination for his film The Reader, which he co-produced with English director Anthony Minghella through their production company Mirage Enterprises.

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Tuesday, 01 July 2014
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