Oscar-winning director and occasional actor Sydney Pollack died of stomach cancer on Monday at the age of 73. The New York Times has a fairly astute and comprehensive obituary that details his achievements behind the camera, which include The Way We Were, Absence of Malice, Tootsie, and The Firm. He was nominated for three directing Oscars, winning for Out of Africa, and directed a dozen different actors in Oscar-nominated performances.

To me, it seems like Pollack never quite got his due. Despite the majority of his films being above-average in quality (and at least one, Tootsie, being a genuine classic), he was rarely mentioned in the same breath as the other 1970s and '80s powerhouse filmmakers. Maybe he wasn't prolific enough: In a 40-year theatrical career he made just 21 films, and only a few were major box-office blockbusters.

People liked him, though. I know I did. His frequent supporting roles (sometimes in his own films) gave moviegoers a face to go with the name, and he always came across as a friendly, knowledgeable man, the kind of guy you could chat with. (It's a pity his final onscreen performance was in the wretched Made of Honor. Then again, Orson Welles' last film was the 1985 Transformers movie, so Pollack's in good company.)
categories Cinematical