Oscar-winning Sydney Pollack dies at 73
Thursday, 29 May 2008

AFP, LOS ANGELES - Sydney Pollack, the prolific US director, producer and actor who helmed the Oscar-winning romance "Out of Africa" and the cross-dressing comedy "Tootsie," has died of cancer. He was 73.

Pollack died Monday afternoon at his home in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, surrounded by his family, his agent Leslee Dart told AFP. He had been diagnosed with cancer nine months ago.

The film-maker balanced box office success with critical acclaim over a half-century career, working with stars such as Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Sydney Poitier, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Redford, one of Pollack's favorite actors, expressed sadness at his friend's passing.

"Sydney's and my relationship both professionally and personally covers 40 years," Redford was quoted as saying by The New York Times. "It's too personal to express in a soundbite."

Pollack tackled a variety of social issues and earned a worldwide reputation for an acute romantic and political sensibility that led to some of the most respected films of the late 1960s through the 1980s.

He received best director nominations for "They Shoot Horses Don't They?" (1969) a harrowing Depression-era drama starring Jane Fonda, and "Tootsie" (1982), starring Dustin Hoffman as an out-of-work actor who revives his career by pretending to be woman.

He finally won the directing and best picture Oscars with "Out of Africa" (1985), starring Streep and Redford as a Danish baroness and a big game hunter who have a love affair destined for failure in colonial Kenya.

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