Sydney Pollack was an Academy Award
-winning actor, producer and director, known for his appearances in multiple films and television shows and directorial work from the early 1970s
through the mid-2000s
Pollack started his career at the Neighborhood Playhouse in 1952, where he learned acting from noted playwright and actor Sanford Meisner. He later became Meisner's assistant at the Playhouse, and was eventually approached by John Frankenheimer
to visit Los Angeles and try his hand at directing.
From there, Pollack began directing episodes of several shows including Alfred Hitchcock Presents
and The Fugitive
. He eventually made the jump to feature films, beginning with The Slender Thread
in 1965. Four years later, he received his first Oscar nomination for the film They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
, and continued with a string of box-office successes through the 70s including Jeremiah Johnson
, The Way We Were
, The Yakuza
and The Electric Horseman
Pollack's 1982 film Tootsie
(which he starred in and directed) received an Oscar nomination, and was famous for its on/off-screen arguments between himself and Dustin Hoffman
. Pollack would receive two Academy Awards four years later for Out of Africa
He spent most of his later career acting as an executive producer for several films throughout the 90s
and 2000s, and his last major film role was playing Marty Bach in Michael Clayton
(which he also produced). He also appeared in many guest roles during this time, including stints on Will and Grace
, King of the Hill
and The Sopranos
Pollack passed away at the age of 73 on May 26, 2008, from stomach cancer.
Tropes embodied by Pollack and his work include:
- As Himself:
- In the Just Shoot Me! episode "A&E Biography: Nina Van Horne"
- In the documentary One Six Right, discussing his love of airplanes.
- The Cameo: As a doctor in Death Becomes Her.
- Creator Cameo:
- As Michael's agent in Tootsie.
- In Three Days of the Condor, Pollack plays Hale's boyfriend (heard over the phone) and a cab driver who nearly hits Turner.
- The Danza: As a doctor named Sydney (though not with the same last name) on an episode of Mad About You.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Pollack decided to play Michael's agent, George, in Tootsie at Dustin Hoffman's suggestion, as they had previously been feuding over the direction of the film and decided to incorporated that conflict into the story.