Director Sidney Lumet Dies at 86

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Sidney Lumet, who directed modern American film classics such as "12 Angry Men," "Dog Day Afternoon" and "The Verdict," died Saturday morning at his home in Manhattan, according to the New York Times. He was 86. His stepdaughter, Leslie Gimbel, cited lymphoma as the cause.

"While the goal of all movies is to entertain," Mr. Lumet once wrote, "the kind of film in which I believe goes one step further. It compels the spectator to examine one facet or another of his own conscience. It stimulates thought and sets the mental juices flowing."

His first film, "12 Angry Men" (1957), starring Henry Fonda, even influenced Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor of the United States Supreme Court to go into a law career.

His film "Network" was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including best film and best director. It won four, including best actor (Mr. Finch), best actress (Ms. Dunaway), best original screenplay (Chayevsky) and best supporting actress (Beatrice Straight.)

After more than 40 Academy Award nominations, Mr. Lumet himself never won an Oscar. But he was nominated four times as best director. In 2005, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented him with an honorary Academy Award.
 
New York, Lumet's favorite place as a backdrop to his films, was the set of his most unusual film, "The Wiz," the 1978 musical version of the "The Wizard of Oz" starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

Sidney Lumet was born on June 25, 1924, in Philadelphia. His father Baruch was an actor, born in Poland, who moved his family to New York when Sidney was a baby and joined the Yiddish Art Theater. By the age of 4, Sidney was appearing onstage with his father. He made his Broadway debut in 1935 as a street kid in Sidney Kingsley's "Dead End." He appeared in several more Broadway shows, including Maxwell Anderson's "Journey to Jerusalem."

After wartime service Lumet returned to New York and started directing Off Broadway. In 1950 he was hired by CBS and became a director on the television suspense series "Danger."

Another one Mr. Lumet's projects was a full-length production of Eugene O'Neill's play "The Iceman Cometh," with Jason Robards.

Mr. Lumet's first three marriages, to Rita Gam, Gloria Vanderbilt and Gail Jones, ended in divorce. He married Mary Gimbel in 1980. She survives him. Besides his stepdaughter, Ms. Gimbel, he is also survived by two daughters he had with Ms. Jones, Amy Lumet and Jenny Lumet; a stepson, Bailey Gimble; nine grandchildren and a great grandson. Mr. Lumet also had a home in East Hampton, on Long Island.

Lumet's Broadway credits include SEEDS IN THE WIND, BROOKLYN, U.S.A., JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM, MORNING STAR, CHRISTMAS EVE, MY HEART'S IN THE HIGHLANDS, SCHOOLHOUSE ON THE LOT, THE ETERNAL ROAD, DEAD END. He directed the Broadway productions of NOWHERE TO GO BUT UP, CALIGULA, and NIGHT OF THE AUK.

For the original New York Times article, click here

Photo Credit: Luc Skeudener/European Pressphoto Agency

 

 

 



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