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Actor & Director Sydney Pollack Dies

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Veteran actor and director Sydney Pollack has died. The 73-year-old Oscar winner died today in his home in the Pacific Palisades, and representatives are saying the cause was cancer.

Pollack was born in 1934 in Indiana. He studied acting under Sanford Meisner in New York and began his career on the stage. According to the New York Times,

Mr. Pollack’s career defined an era in which big stars (Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Warren Beatty) and the filmmakers who knew how to wrangle them (Barry Levinson, Mike Nichols) retooled the Hollywood system. Savvy operators, they played studio against studio, staking their fortunes on pictures that served commerce without wholly abandoning art.
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Pollack was nominated for many awards during his career, and won an Academy Award for directing 1985's Out of Africa. He was best known for his gentle-giant and father-figure demeanor along with his mop of curly hair, bulbous nose, and gravelly voice.His directorial credits include Absence of Malice, Tootsie, Out of Africa, The Firm, and the re-make of Sabrina. His multiple film and television acting credits span almost 50 years, and include Eyes Wide Shut, Michael Clayton, A Civil Action, Husbands and Wives and this year's Made of Honor, as well as roles on "The Sopranos," "Frasier," "Mad About You," and a long-running stint as Will's dad on "Will and Grace." In recent years Pollack had become involved in producing; one of his last productions, the HBO film Recount, premiered last night on the cable network.

AP photo/Suzanne Plunkett