RIP: Sydney Pollack

The Oscar-winning director of such films like Tootsie, Out of Africa, The Firm, Sabrina, Three Days of the Condor, The Interpreter, Absence of Malice, The Way We Were, and Jeremiah Johnson passed away from Cancer today.? He was 73.

As a filmmaker, Pollack had a reputation for being a painstaking craftsman — “relentless and meticulous,” screenwriter and friend Robert Towne once said.

“His films have a lyrical quality like great music, and the timing is impeccable,” cinematographer Owen Roizman, who shot five films directed by Pollack, including “Tootsie” and “Havana,” said in 2005 when it was announced that Pollack would receive the 2006 American Society of Cinematographers Board of Governors Award for his contributions to advancing the art of filmmaking.

“He is never satisfied. . . . His passion is contagious. It inspires everyone around him to dig a little deeper,” Roizman said.

Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin said “the hallmark” of Pollack’s career “has been intelligence, both in his approach and his selection of subject matter.”

“Good, bad or in between, his films at the very least respected their audience,” Maltin told The Times. “And, of course, he worked with grade-A collaborators on both sides of the camera — the best screenwriters, the best actors — and it shows.”

Coincidentally, his death comes just three months after the death of his business partner Anthony Minghella.? The two ran Mirage Enterprises together, which Pollack founded in 1985.? Pollack also acted in many movies, many of which he directed.? By the numbers, and they don’t do this titan justice, he produced 47 films, acted in 32 and directed 21 pictures, amongst several television shows.

Sydney Pollack on Charlie Rose in 1995

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