A goodbye with gratitude to prolific director and Honary Oscar winner Sidney Lumet who died this morning at the age of 86 from lymphoma. He was small in stature (5'5") but his legacy looms large as one of Hollywood's most prolific and beloved directors.
He was a stage actor and a television director before moving into feature films. Actors always loved him and he returned that love guiding several of them through signature roles. He worked with some stars multiple times including, notably: Sean Connery, Timothy Hutton, James Mason, and Al Pacino. The stage-to-screen movie, the courtroom drama, the social conscience narrative, and the true crime story would never have been the same without him. He is survived by his wife of 31 years Mary Gimbel, and children and grandchildren (you'll remember that his daughter Jenny Lumet wrote the blissful Rachel Getting Married screenplay. Our thoughts go out to the family today.
How many have you seen?
Lumet never won a competitive Oscar but his 43 features pulled in 45 Oscar nominations (4 Best Picture bids and 17 acting nominations among them) and 6 Oscars wins between them. He himself was nominated five times and received the honorary Oscar at the 2005 ceremony. My two favorite films of his are unquestionably Network (1976) and, a more personal choice, Running on Empty (1988) which is almost always a movie that pops into my brain when someone asks about grossly underappreciated movies. It's so moving and exquisitely acted. Which are your favorites? How many have you seen?
His last picture, the crime drama Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007) opened to the strongest reviews he'd had in 20 years so he went out with a bang.
Rest in peace, Lumet.