Oscar-winning director Robert Wise died of heart failure in a Los Angeles
hospital on Wednesday, only five days after celebrating his 91st
The Sound of Music filmmaker fell ill on Wednesday and was rushed to the
UCLA Medical Center, where he died, his longtime agent and friend Lawrence
Mirisch has confirmed.
Indiana-born Wise started his film career in 1934, when he worked as an
apprentice sound editor on Of Human Bondage, before moving on to editing in
1939. His outstanding editing of Orson Welles‘ movie classic Citizen Kane in
1941 led to the first of seven Oscar nominations, when he was up for Best
Editing in 1942.
Wise graduated to directing in 1944 with The Curse of the Cat People and went
on to direct 39 films throughout his seven decade long career.
Always versatile in his choice of film genres, Wise said, “I’d rather do my
own thing, which has been to choose projects that take me into all different
kinds of genres. I don’t have a favorite kind of film to make. I just look for
the best material I can find.”
Wise won his first two Academy Awards in 1962, when musical West Side Story
was named Best Picture and Best Director, which Wise shared with Jerome
Robbins. Four years later [’66], he picked up two more Oscars for The Sound of Music – again Best Picture and Best Director.
In 1988 he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement accolade from the
Directors Guild of America (DGA), followed by another lifetime recognition
award from the American Film Institute (AFI) in 1998.
His wife Patricia Doyle died in 1975 after 33 years of marriage. The couple
had no children.
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