Sidney Lumet dies at 86

Filmmaker Sidney Lumet, 1924-2011, died yesterday, in one of those Dog Day afternoons. The creator of some great films, “12 Angry Men”(1957), “Serpico”(1973), “Dog Day Afternoon”(1975), “Network”(1976), “The Verdict”(1982), and “Before the Devil Knows Youre Dead”(2007), that had five Oscar nominations, four nominations for Best Director, died Saturday of lymphoma at his home in his beloved Manhattan; he was 86. Like Woody Allen, he defined himself as a New Yorker. “I always like being in Woody Allen’s world. New York is filled with reality; Hollywood is a fantasyland.” he said. Sidney Lumet’s filmography is full of good and great films.

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Lumet Born in Philadelphia to parents who were in show business -his father was an actor and director, his mother a dancer- he appeared in numerous Broadway plays as a child and young adult before serving three years in the Army during World War II and returning to New York to direct. His first serious film was 12 Angry Men, starring Henry Fonda as the lone dissenting juror in a murder trial. The film earned three Academy Award nominations (Best Picture, Director and Screenplay) and established Lumet’s cinematic directing career.

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The crime drama Serpico (1973) helped cement Al Pacino’s star status after The Godfather, and earned the actor his first Best Actor Oscar nomination. Al Pacino and Lument paired again in 1975’s Dog Day Afternoon, the story of a bank heist gone crazily awry; the film, now considered a modern classic, earned Lumet and Pacino Oscar nominations and some of the best reviews of their careers

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In 1976, Lumet explored the themes of media exposure and saturation he delved into with Dog Day Afternoon even further with the scathing television satire and drama Network. The film remains one of only two films to win three Academy Awards for acting (the third for supporting actress Beatrice Straight, who appeared onscreen for less than six minutes), the other being A Streetcar Named Desire. ). Lumet’s last film was the 2007 drama Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, which starred indie stalwarts Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Ethan Hawke, and Amy Ryan.

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Nominated for five Oscars (four for directing, one for screenplay), Lumet was awarded an honorary Academy Award at the 2004 Oscars. For Lumet, money was among the least of things. He was really a revolutionary and protester. He fought for “Social Justice”. Iranians, filmmakers and moviegoers, love Sidney Lumet’s films, especially Serpico and “Dog Day Afternoon”.

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Lumet was married four times, first to actress Rita Gam, second to socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, and third to Gail Jones, daughter of Lena Horne. He married Mary Gimbel in 1980 and had two daughters with Ms. Jones, Amy Lumet and screenwriter Jenny Lumet, who scripted the drama Rachel Getting Married.

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