In healthier timesI’d known Sydney Pollack was sick for a while now. There were rumblings of poor health at TIFF’s “Michael Clayton” premiere last September, and when the director’s office released a comment on the passing of his production-company partner Anthony Minghella earlier this year, the phrase “gravely ill” was used to describe Pollack’s condition.

On Monday, the news broke that he’d passed away after a struggle with cancer.

Pollack was, by all accounts, a complete and total mensch — generous to directors, supportive of actors, committed to the artistic integrity of his work as well as the work of others.

I saw him accept a Patron of the Arts award at the black-tie gala for the 2007 Palm Springs film festival. The award wasn’t really worth much — the Palm Springs awards are largely an excuse to get a bunch of famous people together for a really nice dinner — but he gave a gracious and entertaining speech. And you could feel the love in the room when he took the stage.

You hear a lot of polite applause in this business (and yes, you even do some of the polite applauding yourself), so when the real thing comes along, you’re surprised and gratified to recognize it. And you’re happy to join in.

Sydney Pollack was 73 years old.

2 thoughts on “Pollack”

  1. If there’s one movie that I can always throw on when I’m feeling blue about something and it will cheer me up every single time, it’s “Tootsie”.

    I think I’ll be watching it again tonight.

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