A celebrated stage and film director, Ulu Grosbard became renowned for features with intense character studies in which actors give superb performances. Born on Jan. 9, 1929 in Antwerp, Belgium, Grosbard immigrated to Havana, Cuba with his family in 1942. Originally trained as a diamond cutter, the family then relocated to America in the late-1940s. After attending the University of Chicago and Yale School of Drama and enduring a brief stint in the U.S. Army, Grosbard made his stage directorial debut with a production of Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge" on Long Island, NY. He would later earn critical plaudits and accolades for a 1965 off-Broadway production of the same play. He entered feature films as an assistant director working with such masters as Elia Kazan on "Splendor in the Grass" (1961), Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins on "West Side Story" (1961), Robert Rossen on "The Hustler" (1961) and Arthur Penn on "The Miracle Worker" (1962). Grosbard made his off-Broadway directorial debut in 1962 with "The Days & Nights of Bebee Fenstermaker" and triumphed with his handling of the Broadway production of Frank Gilroy's Pulitzer Prize-winner "The Subject was Roses" two years later.
In 1968, Grosbard was at the helm of the feature version that marked Patricia Neal's return to acting after a series of near-fatal strokes and saw Jack Albertson and Martin Sheen recreate their stage roles. His subsequent feature work included offbeat productions such as "Who is Harry Kellerman, and Why is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?" (1971), in which Dustin Hoffman was a composer who finds success does not bring happiness; "Straight Time" (1978), again with Hoffman cast as an ex-con; and "True Confessions" (1981) with Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall in a tale of brothers and power. Less successful was the melodrama "Falling in Love" (1984) in which De Niro and Meryl Streep are strangers who meet on a train and eventually find themselves drawn together. After a decade's absence, Grosbard returned to films as producer and director of "Georgia" (1995), a character study of two sisters - the self-destructive no-talent singer Sadie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and her seemingly perfect sibling Georgia (Mare Winningham (in an Oscar-nominated turn). He followed with "The Deep End of the Ocean" (1999), about a woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) searching for her kidnapped son. The esteemed director would pass away in 2012 late in the night on March 18 or early morning of the 19th (his family was uncertain which) in New York City. He was 83.