Sydney Pollack: 1934-2008

Sydney Pollack: 1934-2008

Posted by Sean Stangland on Mon, 05/26/2008 - 20:44

Hollywood giant Sydney Pollack, who cut his teeth as an actor and director for TV shows ranging from "The Twilight Zone" to "Ben Casey," has died of cancer at age 73, according to an AP news alert that just came over the wires here at work.

Pollack and Dustin Hoffman square off in this scene
from "Tootsie," ranked as the 69th-best movie of all time
in the AFI's 2007 poll of industry big-wigs.

Pollack was probably best known as a character actor in recent years; his appearances in "Eyes Wide Shut," "Michael Clayton" and "Changing Lanes" were particularly memorable, and, judging from my sister's reaction to hearing of his death, so was his four-episode stint as Will's dad on "Will & Grace." Sadly, his last role came in the just-released rom-com "Made of Honor," which found no honor from the critical community.

In the '70s and '80s, Pollack strung together an impressive roster of hits and classics: "Jeremiah Johnson" (1972), "The Way We Were" (1973), "Three Days of the Condor" (1975), "Absence of Malice" (1981), and the two films he'll likely be best remembered for, 1982's "Tootsie" and 1985's best-picture Oscar winner, "Out of Africa." His output sharply declined after that, both in quantity and quality; before his last film, 2005's quaint documentary "Sketches of Frank Gehry," Pollack had made "Sabrina," "Random Hearts" and "The Interpreter" -- yuck.

Pollack also has 47 producing credits on his resume, on a roster of films that run that gamut from "Sense and Sensibility" to "King Ralph," believe it or not.

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