Sydney Pollack Dies

Sydney Irwin Pollack (July 1, 1934 — May 26, 2008) was an American film director, producer and actor.

Born in Lafayette, Indiana to Russian Jewish immigrants, Pollack studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, where he later taught acting. He began directing television shows in the 1960s before moving to films.

Pollack directed more than 21 films and 10 television shows, acted in over 30 films or shows, and produced over 44 films. Some of his best known works include Jeremiah Johnson (1972), The Way We Were (1973), Three Days of the Condor (1975) and Absence of Malice (1981). 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? and Tootsie, the latter of which he also appeared in. Later films included Havana (1990), The Firm (1993), Sabrina (1995) and The Interpreter (2005).

Pollack was married to Claire Griswold, a former student of his, from 1958 until his death. They had three children: Rachel, Rebecca, and Steven Pollack. Steven Pollack died in a plane crash in 1993. Sydney's brother Bernie Pollack is a costume designer, producer, and actor.

Concerns about Pollack's health had surfaced in 2007 when suddenly he stepped out of directing HBO's television film Recount. The film aired on May 25, 2008. Pollack died the next day of stomach cancer at his home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California, surrounded by family. His body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered along the runway at the Van Nuys Airport in Van Nuys, California.