Oscar Winner Sydney Pollack Dead at 73

Director mixed art, commerce in classic American films
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2008 8:48 PM CDT
In this Sept. 8, 2006 file photo, U.S. director and actor Sydney Pollack poses for the press in Deauville, Normandy, France.   (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, file)
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(Newser) – Oscar-winning filmmaker Sidney Pollack died of cancer today at age 73 in Los Angeles, the New York Times reports. His career, defined by classics like Tootsie and Out of Africa, spanned an era when directors wrangled stars and battled studios to make artful yet commercial films. He later grieved that mainstream movies are good only by "accident" in today's Hollywood.

Pollack started by acting but went behind the camera on advice from Burt Lancaster. Self-critical as a director, he broke through with They Shoot Horses, Don't They? in 1970 and would work with stars like Sally Field, Paul Newman, and Dustin Hoffman. He won an Oscar for Out of Africa and later enjoyed playing elder statesman, leading Hollywood organizations and battling for artists' rights.