Sydney Pollack 1934-2008
updated 06/09/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/09/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Indeed, Pollack knew how to put actors in their best light—and they loved him for it. An actor, producer and director of 20 films, Pollack specialized in big movies with big stars, telling the New York Times in 1982, "stars are like thoroughbreds ... when they do what they do best—whatever it is that's made them a star—it's really exciting." He made seven films with good friend Robert Redford and won an Oscar for 1985's Out of Africa. (His business partner, director Anthony Minghella, died in March.)
The son of an Indiana pharmacist, Pollack moved to New York City to pursue acting after high school. In 1958 he married his wife Claire, a drama student; they had three children, Rebecca, Rachel and Steven. (Steven died in a plane crash in California in 1993.) Through it all, Pollack never wavered in his passion for movies and those who make them. "He guided me artistically and personally," said Nicole Kidman, "not just as a director or producer but as a mentor and a friend." Said George Clooney: "Sydney made the world a little better, movies a little better and even dinner a little better. A tip of the hat to a class act."