The critically-acclaimed filmmaker passed away on Saturday morning (09Apr11) at his New York home after a battle with lymphoma.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to actor/director Baruch Lumet and dancer Eugenia, he began his career as a child actor, appearing in a number of Broadway plays, including 1935's Dead End and The Eternal Road.
He made his movie debut at the age of 11, in Yiddish short film Papirossen, but halted his acting dreams to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Upon his return, he became involved in Off-Broadway productions as a director, before turning his attentions to TV in the 1950s.
Lumet's extensive small screen credits include hit series Danger, Mama and You Are There, which starred a young Walter Cronkite.
But it was his movie work which really grabbed critics' attention - his first film, 12 Angry Men (1957), featured Henry Fonda as a courageous court juror who manages to convince the panel the defendant on trial for murder is innocent.
Social issues and the topic of morality were key to Lumet's work and he is perhaps best known for 1976 satire Network. The movie, starring William Holden, Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway, garnered a whopping 10 Oscar nominations, including honours for Best Film and Best Director. Network was awarded gold in four categories, with Finch taking Best Actor and Dunaway Best Actress.
He also directed 1962 drama A View From the Bridge, based on the play by Arthur Miller, and Long Day's Journey Into Night, which earned Katharine Hepburn an Oscar nod.
Lumet's other works included Agatha Christie crime classic Murder on the Orient Express in 1974, and he created a fantasy version of his beloved New York for his 1978 musical The Wiz, starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. The picture, a take on The Wizard of Oz, was a departure from Lumet's cutting-edge style of filmmaking and was a critical and commercial flop.
His films received a total of 40 Academy Award nominations throughout his career, and his leading stars included Marlon Brando, Paul Newman and Christopher Reeve.
Lumet was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 2005.
He is survived by his fourth wife, Mary Gimbel, two daughters, nine grandchildren, and a great grandson.
Though Garry Marshall hasn’t made a decent flick since 1990’s Pretty Woman he still apparently wields a not inconsiderable amount of clout in Hollywood. What else could explain the all-star ensemble of actors who gathered for Valentine’s Day? Among the major names found probing the turgid depths of the nearly 80-year-old director’s insipid rom-com are Julia Roberts Anne Hathaway Ashton Kutcher Jessica Alba Jamie Foxx Jessica Biel Taylor Lautner and various other prominent actors who either owe favors to Marshall or whose incriminating photos he holds in his possession.
A slice-of-life tale unfolding in Los Angeles over the course of a single Valentine’s Day the film chronicles the romantic adventures of a diverse cast of characters at various stages of relationships and encompassing virtually every conceivable demographic category. Their ages backgrounds and perspectives often dramatically differ but they each share one trait in common: Almost without exception they are all ceaselessly painfully disastrously unfunny.
Some temper their dishumor with a dose of the annoying like Kutcher whose dopey florist Marshall unwisely chose to anchor Valentine’s Day’s story around. Others add a dash of the preposterous like Roberts dressed in military fatigues in a laughable attempt to play a U.S. Army Captain on leave from the front. Still others add cloying sentiment to the mix like Bryce Robinson’s lovelorn 10-year-old whose grandparents played by Shirley MacLaine and Hector Elizondo ply him with nostalgic romantic tips pre-fabricated for maximum inter-generational cuteness. Whatever your preferred method of cinematic torture may be you’ll undoubtedly encounter it in this film.
In addition to challenging the pain threshold Valentine’s Day offers a test of endurance as well its story requiring over two hours to satisfy the narrative demands of its swollen cast. If you didn’t despise Hallmark’s ersatz holiday before you certainly will after enduring this Bataan Death March of rom-coms.