Sydney Irwin Pollack  (1934 -2008)

Date of Birth
July 1, 1934, in Lafayette, Indiana

Date of Death
May 26, 2008,  Los Angeles, California


Sydney Pollack was born to first generation Russian-Jewish Americans on July 1, 1934. After
graduating from his Indiana high school, he went to New York and became a student at the
Neighborhood Playhouse, a celebrated Greenwich Village school, where he studied under Sanford
Meisner. He served two years in the army before returning to the Neighborhood Playhouse in 1958 as
a teacher, and began appearing as an actor in live television dramas. His appearance in a John
Frankenheimer-directed television production led him to a job as dialogue coach in the filmmaker's
1961 crime drama The Young Savages. He quickly moved into television, directing on programs such
as "The Defenders," "The Naked City," "The Fugitive," "Dr. Kildare," and "Ben Casey" during the early
and mid 1960s, and in 1965 made his feature film debut in the director's chair with The Slender

   Pollack established himself as a competent, if unexceptional, director in such works as This
Property Is Condemned, and one sequence of the Frank Perry-directed drama The Swimmer (based
on a work of John Cheever). However, his real breakthrough came in 1969 with the downbeat period
drama They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, a brutal Depression-era piece set against the backdrop of a
dance marathon contest, starring Jane Fonda and Gig Young. Young won the Oscar for Best
Supporting Actor while Pollack and Fonda were nominated for Best Director and Best Actress,

   Pollack again proved his skill at handling period drama four years later with The Way We Were, a
romantic drama starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford that became one of the most popular
serious movies of the decade. During the mid 1970s, Pollack also delved into the action genre with
The Yakuza, about a kidnapping committed by Japanese gangsters. He achieved much greater
success in 1975 with Three Days of the Condor, a post-Watergate suspense thriller starring Redford,
Cliff Robertson and Faye Dunaway that proved an enduring favorite among genre fans as well as a
hit with general audiences. Four years later, The Electric Horseman united his two top leads, Fonda
and Redford, in a predictable but very successful update of the '30s screwball comedy, while Absence
of Malice (1981), starring Paul Newman and Sally Field, took a much more serious tone in dealing with
a story of an innocent man whose career is ruined by an ambitious reporter.
Sydney Pollack
  In 1982, Pollack returned to comedy in top form
with Tootsie, the story of an out-of-work actor
(Dustin Hoffman) who achieves success by
masquerading as a woman. The film scored a Best
Director Oscar nomination for Pollack, as well as a
win in the same category from the New York Critics
Film Circle. More success followed for the director
with Out Of Africa (1985); starring Redford, it was
one of a dwindling number of serious romantic
dramas aimed at middle-class, middle-brow,
middle-aged audiences that scored big at the box
office. Unfortunately, another such outing with
Redford, the 1990 Havana, was a notorious failure.

 Pollack was back on top in 1993 with The Firm, a
wildly successful adaptation of John Grisham's
thriller that starred Tom Cruise. However, mirroring
the unpredictable fluctuations of fortune in
Movie Credits
1961 Cain's Hundred (TV series)
1961 Shotgun Slade (TV series)
1961-1962 Frontier Circus (TV series)
1962 The Tall Man (TV series)
1962 Target: The Corruptors (TV series)
1962-1963 Ben Casey (TV series)
1962-1963 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (TV series)
1963 Wagon Train (TV series)
1963 The Defenders (TV series)
1963 Breaking Point (TV series)
1964 Slattery's People (TV series)
1964 The Fugitive (TV series)
1964 Arrest and Trial (TV series)
1963-1965 Kraft Suspense Theatre
1963-1965 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre
1965 The Slender Thread
1966 This Property Is Condemned
1968 The Scalphunters
1968 The Swimmer (uncredited)
1969 Castle Keep
1969 They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
1972 Jeremiah Johnson
1973 The Way We Were
1974 The Yakuza
1975 Three Days of the Condor
1977 Bobby Deerfield
1979 The Electric Horseman
1981 Absence of Malice
1982 Tootsie
1985 Out of Africa
1990 Havana
1993 The Firm
1995 Sabrina
1999 Random Hearts
2005 The Interpreter

1956 The Kaiser Aluminum Hour (TV series) - Pvt. Shuber
1958 Now Is Tomorrow (TV movie) - Capt. Stein
1959 Playhouse 90 (TV series) - Andres
1959 The United States Steel Hour (TV series) - Benson
1959 Armstrong Circle Theatre (TV series) - Albert Rousseau
1959 Startime (TV series) - Harry
1960 The Robert Herridge Theater (TV series) - Peddler
1960 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV series) - Bernie Samuelson
1960 Twilight Zone (TV series) - Arthur Willis
1961 Have Gun - Will Travel (TV series) - Joe Culp
1961 The Deputy (TV series) - Chuck Johnson
1961 The Asphalt Jungle (TV series) - Louie
1961-1962 The New Breed (TV series)
                                                 - Austin Rogers / Bert Masters
1962 Ben Casey (TV series)
1962 War Hunt - Sgt. Owen Van Horn
1959-1964 Brenner (TV series) - Al / Detective Al Dunn / Det Dunn
1979 The Electric Horseman - Man who makes pass at Alice
1982 Tootsie - George Fields
1992 The Player - Dick Mellon
1992 Death Becomes Her - E.R. Doctor (uncredited)
1992 Husbands and Wives - Jack
1994 Frasier (TV series) - Holden Thorpe
1998 Mad About You (TV series) - Dr. Sydney Warren
1998 A Civil Action - Al Eustis
1999 Eyes Wide Shut - Victor Ziegler
1999 Random Hearts - Carl Broman
2000 King of the Hill (TV series) - Grant Trimble
2001 Fling (TV series) - Elizabeth's Husband
2001 The Majestic - Studio Executive (voice)
2002 Changing Lanes - Stephen Delano
2005 The Interpreter - Jay Pettigrew (uncredited)
2006 Avenue Montaigne - Brian Sobinsky
2000-2006 Will & Grace (TV series) - George Truman
2006 American Masters (TV series documentary) - Narrator
2007 The Sopranos (TV series) - Warren Feldman
2007 Entourage (TV series) - Sydney Pollack
2007 Michael Clayton - Marty Bach
2008 Made of Honor  - Thomas Sr.
Hollywood, his next directorial effort, a 1995 remake of Sabrina starring Harrison Ford, proved to be a
colossal critical and financial flop. In 1999, Pollack and Ford reunited to make Random Hearts, a
drama about a man and a woman Kristin Scott Thomas who discover that their respective
spouses--who died in a plane crash--were lovers.

 In addition to directing, Pollack has also served as a producer on a number of films (including The
Fabulous Baker Boys, Presumed Innocent, Dead Again and Sense and Sensibility) and frequently
appears as an actor, both in his own films and those of other directors (he had a starring role in
Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives). In 1999, he could be seen portraying a wealthy man with some
questionable pastimes in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.

inducted into the Delta films Hall of Fame - Director

Emmy Awards - Outstanding Made for Television Movie      for: Recount

Palm Springs International Film Festival  - Screen Actors Guild Foundation Patron of the
Arts Award

American Society of Cinematographers  - Board of the Governors Award

Hollywood Film Festival  - Outstanding Achievement in Producing  

Locarno International Film Festival  - Leopard of Honor
Savannah Film and Video Festival  - Outstanding Achievement in Cinema

Joseph Plateau Awards - Joseph Plateau Life Achievement Award

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards  - 2nd place       Best Supporting Actor
                               for: Death Becomes Her, The Player, and Husbands and Wives.

Guild of German Art House Cinemas - Guild Film Award - Gold         Foreign Film
                                                                                       for: Out of Africa

Academy Awards  - Oscar         Best Director            for: Out of Africa
Academy Awards  - Oscar         Best Picture              for: Out of Africa
Berlin International Film Festival  - Berlinale Camera
David di Donatello Awards  - David         Best Foreign Film        for: Out of Africa
Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists  - Silver Ribbon   Best Director - Foreign Film
                                                                                                    for: Out of Africa

Kinema Junpo Awards   - Readers' Choice Award         Best Foreign Language Film
                                                                                                    for: Tootsie    
Bodil Awards -  Best Non-European Film                     for: Tootsie

ShoWest Convention  ShoWest Award         Producer of the Year

Berlin International Film Festival  - Honorable Mention         for: Absence of Malice
Berlin International Film Festival  - Reader Jury of the "Berliner Morgenpost"         
                                                                                                 for: Absence of Malice
New York Film Critics Circle Awards  - NYFCC Award         Best Director      for: Tootsie

David di Donatello Awards - Special David         for: Three Days of the Condor
                                                                                              For the direction.

Western Heritage Awards - Bronze Wrangler         Theatrical Motion Picture
                                                                              for: Jeremiah Johnson

Emmy Awards  - Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Drama
                                                                      for: "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre"