One of those names that might not be quite as recognized as others, Sidney Lumet is one of the legendary directing talents in film history. Lumet died early Saturday in his sleep after suffering from lymphoma, his family confirmed.
Born in Philadelphia in 1924, Lumet soon moved to New York City where he would remain for the duration of his life and where he would set many of his eventual films. His career started early on with a radio job as a 4-year-old child and he had a run on Broadway in the ’30s before going off to World War II where he was a radio repairman.
Upon his return, the director formed an acting company in 1950 and many of his first directing jobs were TV series throughout the ’50s. Then came the big one: 1957’s 12 Angry Men, which nabbed Academy Award nominations for best picture, best writing, and best directing for Lumet — one of his five nominations. What’s even more impressive, perhaps, is that it’s listed at #7 on IMDB’s top 250 movies of all-time.
After that, he turned his attention to mostly film, delivering a collection of renowned titles over the years. Others he directed include Serpico, Murder on the Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, and The Verdict.
He kept right on working until recently, directing Vin Diesel in Find Me Guilty in 2006, and his final film, the excellent Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead in 2007.
Though he never won an Oscar, he was presented the honorary lifetime achievement award from the Academy in 2005. Al Pacino, who worked with the director multiple times, presented the award saying “If you prayed to inhabit a character, Sidney was the priest who listened to your prayers, helped make them come true.”
1924 – 2011
[Source: NY Times]