Paul Mazursky dead: Five-time Oscar nominated director dies age 84

The director was known for his touching characterisations of everyday Americans in films like Harry and Tonto and An Unmarried Woman

Five-time Oscar nominated director and screenwriter Paul Mazursky has died aged 84.

The Hollywood great, best known for his films Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Harry and Tonto and An Unmarried Woman, passed away as a result of pulmonary cardiac arrest on Monday, according to family spokeswoman Nancy Willen.

A writer known for his compassionate and moving portrayals of ordinary Americans in the late Sixties and Seventies, Mazursky saw a number of his films receive Academy recognition.

His screenwriting debut came in 1969 with Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a comedy about young couples and ‘wife swapping’ which received four Academy Award nominations.

His 1974 film Harry and Tonto, which followed widowed man travelling America with his beloved cat, saw lead man Art Carney pick up a Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Harry Coombes.

 

Yet, it is his 1978 film An Unmarried Woman that he is best known for, which saw Jill Clayburgh play a recently single New Yorker struggling to deal with her new single life after being left for a younger woman by her husband.

Other notable Mazursky-directed films include, Blume in Love (1973), Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976) and Scenes from a Mall (1991).

Alongside his career as a celebrated director and screenwriter, he also accumulated a number of acting credits, including appearing as a juvenile delinquent in the Academy Award-nominated film Blackboard Jungle, a cameo in Brian De Palma’s gangster flick Carlito’s Way and a number of small roles in popular TV series The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

He was adored by many in Hollywood. His best friend and Hollywood great Mel Brooks once said of Mazursky: “If he were gay, and I were gay, I think we would hang out together. That’s how much I love him.”

He leaves behind his wife of over 60 years, Betsy Mazursky.

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