Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hollywood Mourns Sydney Pollack

In very sad news, Hollywood is today mourning the loss of Academy Award-winning director and sometimes actor Sydney Pollack who succumbed to cancer yesterday at the age of 73 years old. Young folk may remember Pollack as the actor who played Eric McCormack's dad on Will & Grace (and most recently, played Patrick Dempsey's dad in Made of Honor) but he was best known in Hollywood as the accomplished director of movies like Out of Africa (starring Meryl Streep), The Firm (starring Tom Cruise), The Way We Were (starring Barbara Streisand) and The Interpreter (starring Nicole Kidman):

Sydney Pollack was remembered by some of the elite actors he directed in films such as "Out of Africa," "Tootsie," and "Absence of Malice," not only for his Academy Award-winning direction, but also for his acting talents. Pollack, diagnosed with cancer about nine months ago, died Monday afternoon, surrounded by family, at his home in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, said his publicist, Leslee Dart. He was 73. Unlike many other top directors of his era, Pollack was also a film and television actor himself, and he used this unique position to forge a relationship with Hollywood's elite stars and create some of the most successful films of the 1970s and '80s. "I sort of straddle the line ... between personal movies and mainstream Hollywood," he told The Associated Press in 1993. In 1970, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?," about Depression-era marathon dancers, received nine Oscar nominations, including one for Pollack's direction. He was nominated again for best director for 1982's "Tootsie," starring Dustin Hoffman as a cross-dressing actor and Pollack as the exasperated agent who tells him, "I begged you to get some therapy." As director and producer, he won Academy Awards for the 1986 romantic epic "Out of Africa," starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, which captured seven Oscars in all. Last fall, Pollack played law firm boss Marty Bach opposite George Clooney in "Michael Clayton," which he also co-produced. It received seven Oscar nominations. "Sydney made the world a little better, movies a little better and even dinner a little better. A tip of the hat to a class act," Clooney said in a statement. "He'll be missed terribly." Other A-listers Pollack directed include Sally Field and Paul Newman in "Absence of Malice," Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn in "The Interpreter," Robert Mitchum in "The Yakuza," Tom Cruise in "The Firm," and Redford in seven films: "This Property Is Condemned," "Jeremiah Johnson," "Three Days of the Condor," "The Way We Were" with Barbra Streisand, "The Electric Horseman," "Out of Africa" and "Havana." In later years, Pollack, who stood over six feet tall and had a striking presence on screen, devoted more time to acting, appearing in Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives," Robert Altman's "The Player," Robert Zemeckis' "Death Becomes Her" and Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut." On television, Pollack had an occasional recurring role on the NBC sitcom "Will & Grace" playing Will's (Eric McCormack) father, and appeared in the "The Sopranos," "Frasier" and "Mad About You." His last screen appearance was in "Made of Honor," a romantic comedy currently in theaters, where he played the oft-married father of star Patrick Dempsey's character ... Pollack produced many independent films with the late Anthony Minghella and the production company Mirage Enterprises. His producing credits include "The Talented Mr. Ripley"; "Cold Mountain"; "Sketches of Frank Gehry," a documentary that was the final film directed by Pollack; and the new HBO film "Recount," about the 2000 presidential election. Sidney Irwin Pollack was born in Lafayette, Ind., to first-generation Russian-Americans. In high school in South Bend, he fell in love with theater, a passion that prompted him to forgo college, move to New York and enroll in the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater ... "Stars are like thoroughbreds," Pollack once told The New York Times. "Yes, it's a little more dangerous with them. They are more temperamental. You have to be careful because you can be thrown. But when they do what they do best — whatever it is that's made them a star — it's really exciting." Pollack is survived by his wife, Claire; two daughters, Rebecca and Rachel; his brother Bernie; and six grandchildren.

Sydney Pollack always struck me as a very unassuming man ... especially when you take into consideration all of the big movies he worked on and all of the accolades he had heaped upon him thruout his career. I think I will always remember him as Will's dad on Will & Grace ... he played a great father and I want to believe that he was most like that character in real life. He will be sorely missed :( [Source]