Director Sidney Lumet Dies
Sidney Lumet, director of '12 Angry Men,' 'Network,' dies at 86
Sidney Lumet, the award-winning director of such acclaimed films as "Network," "Serpico," "Dog Day Afternoon" and "12 Angry Men," has died. He was 86.
Lumet's death was confirmed by relatives and friends, who said he died early Saturday morning at his Manhattan home. He had suffered from lymphoma.
A Philadelphia native, Lumet moved to New York City as a child, and it became the location of choice for more than 30 of his films. Although he freely admitted to a lifelong love affair with the city, he often showed its grittier side.
Such dramas as "Prince of the City," "Q&A," "Night Falls on Manhattan" and "Serpico" looked at the hard lives and corruptibility of New York police officers. "Dog Day Afternoon" told the true-life story of two social misfits who set in motion a chain of disastrous events when they tried to rob a New York City bank on an oppressively hot summer afternoon.
"It's not an anti-L.A. thing," Lumet said of his New York favoritism in a 1997 interview. "I just don't like to live in a company town."
Although he didn't work in Los Angeles, the director maintained good relations with the Hollywood studios, partly because he finished his pictures under schedule and budget. His television beginnings had schooled him in working fast, and he rarely shot more than four takes of a scene.
He was nominated four times for directing Academy Awards, and actors in his films won 17 Oscars. But Lumet himself never won.
Lumet did receive an honorary Oscar in 2005 for lifetime achievement. He also received the Directors Guild of America's prestigious D.W. Griffith Award for lifetime achievement in 1993.
Lumet immediately established himself as an A-list director with his first theatrical film, 1957's "12 Angry Men," which took an early and powerful look at racial prejudice as it depicted 12 jurors trying to reach a verdict in a trial involving a young Hispanic man wrongly accused of murder. It garnered him his first Academy Award nomination.
Other Oscar nominations were for "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975), "Network" (1976) and "The Verdict" (1982).
"Network," a scathing view of the television business, proved to be Lumet's most memorable film and created an enduring catch phrase when crazed newscaster Howard Beale exhorted his audience to raise their windows and shout, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
Beale, played by Peter Finch, is ultimately assassinated by his network bosses for lousy ratings.
"That's the only part of 'Network' that hasn't happened yet, and that's on its way," Lumet later said.
It won Academy Awards for Paddy Chayefsky for best screenplay, Finch as best actor (presented posthumously) and Faye Dunaway as best actress.
Other popular Lumet films included "Running On Empty," "Equus," "Family Business" and "The Wiz."
His final film was 2007's "Before the Devil Knows Your Dead," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Marisa Tomei.