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Sidney Lumet

Sidney Lumet

Few filmmakers know the varied turf of New York as thoroughly as director Sidney Lumet, a New Yorker since the age of two who has made 30 of his 42 feature films there.

His motion pictures have received over 50 Academy Award nominations. His many honors include four Oscar nominations as Best Director, for 12 Angry Men (1957), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976) and The Verdict (1982). He also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay as co-writer of Prince Of The City (1981). He has been honored with an impressive seven Directors Guild of America Award nominations for his work.

The son of an actor in Europe's Yiddish theaters, Lumet was a child actor from age five until he entered the U. S. Army at 17. After military duty, he returned to New York and became a director in theater and television. During the 1950s, he directed over 250 television shows, many of them broadcast live. His TV credits include Danger, You Are There, Mama, Kraft Television Theatre, The Alcoa Hour, Goodyear TV Playhouse, Studio One, Omnibus, Playhouse 90, The Sacco & Vanzetti Story and The Iceman Cometh.

His motion picture directorial debut, 12 Angry Men in 1957, earned three Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. In the years immediately following, he directed Stage Struck and That Kind Of Woman.

During the '60s, he directed The Fugitive Kind, A View From The Bridge, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Fail-Safe, The Pawnbroker, The Hill, The Group, The Deadly Affair, Bye Bye Braverman, The Sea Gull and The Appointment. He was one of the creators of King: A Film Record...Montgomery To Memphis.

In the 1970s, he made The Last Of The Mobile Hot-Shots, The Anderson Tapes, Child's Play, The Offense, Serpico, Lovin' Molly, Murder On The Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon (six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture), Network (10 Academy Award nominations and four wins), Equus and The Wiz.

Ten Lumet films were released in the '80s: Just Tell Me What You Want (which he also produced), Prince Of The City (also co-writer), Deathtrap, The Verdict, Daniel, Garbo Talks, Power, The Morning After, Running On Empty and Family Business.

He began the '90s directing Q & A, also his first solo writing credit, followed by A Stranger Among Us, Guilty As Sin and Night Falls On Manhattan, which he also wrote. While making Gloria on the streets of New York, his scathing social satire of the medical establishment, Critical Care, was released.

His many honors include the Directors Guild's prestigious D. W. Griffith Award, given for an unusually distinguished body of work, as well as the New York Film Critics Award for Prince Of The City and the Los Angeles Film Critics Award and Golden Globe for Network. The Museum Of Modern Art in New York honored him with a retrospective, as has virtually every major international film academy. In 1997, he was given the Billy Wilder Award For Excellence And Achievement In Film Direction from the National Board Of Review, and the Writers Guild Of America's Evelyn Burkey Award for his contribution to films that brought dignity and honor to writers.

He is the author of an extremely popular filmmaking primer titled Making Movies (Vintage Books), currently in its eighth printing.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2000.

Sidney Lumet Facts

OccupationDirector
BirthdayJune 25, 1924 (93)
SignCancer
BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Awards1977 Golden Globe Awards: Best Director - Motion Picture (for Network)

Selected Filmography

The Wiz
12 Angry Men
Network
Strip Search
Fail-Safe
Serpico
Murder On The Orient Express
Fail Safe
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