Place of Death
at his home in Pacific Palisades, California
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Director, Producer, Actor/Actress
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Profile Bio Text
Sydney Pollack is an Academy Award-winning director, producer, actor, writer and public figure, who directed and produced over 40 films.
He was born on July 1, 1934, in Lafayette, Indiana, USA, to a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants. His mother, Rebecca Miller, was a homemaker. His father, David Pollack, was a professional boxer turned pharmacist. His parents divorced when he was young. His mother, an alcoholic, died at age 37, when Sydney Pollack was 16. He spent his formative years in Indiana, graduating from his HS in 1952, then moved to the New York City.
From 1952-1954 young Pollack studied acting with Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York. He served two years in the army, and then returned to the Neighbourghood Playhouse and taught acting. In 1958, Pollack married his former student Claire Griswold. They had three children. Their son, Steven Pollack, died in a plane crash on November 26, 1993, in Santa Monica, California. Their daughter, Rebecca Pollack, served as vice president of film production at United Artists during the 1990s. Their youngest daughter, Rachel Pollack, was born in 1969.
Pollack began his acting career on stage, then made his name as television director in the early 1960s. He made his big screen acting debut in War Hunt (1962), where he met fellow actor Robert Redford, and the two co-stars established a life-long friendship. Pollack called on his good friend Redford to play opposite Natalie Wood in This Property Is Condemned (1966). Pollack and Redford worked together on six more films over the years. His biggest success came with Out of Africa (1985), starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. For this film he won two Oscars: one for Best Direction and one for Best Picture.
Pollack showed his best as a comedy director and actor in Tootsie (1982), where he brought feminist issues to public awareness using his remarkable wit and wisdom, and created a highly entertaining film, which was nominated for ten Academy Awards. Pollack`s directing revealed Dustin Hoffman`s range and nuanced acting in gender switching from a dominant boyfriend to a nurse in drag, a brilliant collaboration of director and actor that broadened public perception about sex roles. Pollack also made success in producing such films as The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), The Quiet American (2002) and Cold Mountain (2003). Pollack returned to the director`s chair in 2004, when he directed The Interpreter (2005), the first film ever shot on location at the United Nations Headquarters and within the General Assembley in New York City.
Sydney Pollack has been living with his family in California.
Couple Profile Source
Full Name at Birth
Sydney Irwin Pollack
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Film Director, Actor
Sydney Irwin Pollack (July 1, 1934 – May 26, 2008) was an American film director, producer and actor. Pollack directed more than 21 films and 10 television shows, acted in over 30 films or shows, and produced over 44 films. His 1985 film Out of Africa won him Academy Awards for directing and producing; he was also nominated for Best Director Oscars for They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) and Tootsie (1982), in the latter of which he also appeared. Some of his other best known works include Jeremiah Johnson (1972), The Way We Were (1973), Three Days of the Condor (1975) and Absence of Malice (1981). His subsequent films included Havana (1990), The Firm (1993), Sabrina (1995), The Interpreter (2005), and as producer for and actor in Michael Clayton (2007).
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Rebecca Miller Pollack