Sidney Lumet: 1924-2011

The influential and prolific director of 12 Angry Men and Network was 86.

by | April 10, 2011 | Comments

Academy Award nominated director Sidney Lumet, the prolific auteur of a number of influential crime and courtroom dramas, died of lymphoma on April 9 at his home in New York City. He was 86.

Known within the industry as an actor’s director, Lumet’s string of critical and commercial successes included such classics as 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Network, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Verdict. Lumet’s work combined gritty realism with social commentary, and featured unforgettable performances from such important actors as Henry Fonda, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, and Peter Finch.

Born in Philadelphia in 1924, Lumet studied acting at Columbia University. His directorial career began with off-Broadway theatrical productions, but soon became known as for his efficient, high-quality television direction. His debut film, 1957’s 12 Angry Men, remains one of the most influential of all courtroom dramas; the tale of a jury tasked with deciding the fate of an impoverished murder suspect, it showcased both Lumet’s way with actors and his ability to make “issue movies” that didn’t feel overly preachy.

Lumet’s career hit its peak in the 1970s. He teamed with Al Pacino for Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon, two gritty New York dramas that reflected the malaise of the period. His most honored film was 1976’s Network, a satire of TV news and media-abetted demagoguery that was nominated for 10 Oscars, winning four. Lumet received an Honorary Oscar for his body of work at the 2005 Academy Awards.

Highly prolific, Lumet directed a film every year until the early 1990s. His pace slowed in recent years, but Lumet still was capable of surprises, including the legal comedy Find Me Guilty (2006) with Vin Diesel and the heist drama Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007), starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei; Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman wrote that Devil offered “proof that Sidney Lumet’s talent is, in every sense, timeless.”

Lumet was married four times. He is survived by his wife Mary Gimbel, a stepdaughter, and two daughters from a previous marriage.

For Sidney Lumet’s complete filmography on RT, click here.

Tag Cloud

comiccon Hulu Reality Competition History American Society of Cinematographers Sci-Fi IFC Music Rocky 2016 Kids & Family Set visit PaleyFest Esquire serial killer TruTV Interview Trailer 2017 Reality SundanceTV Infographic FX Syfy A&E Marvel period drama Tomatazos Photos E! BET Showtime Fantasy HBO Pop President Universal DirecTV Countdown Fox News Emmys GLAAD PBS Adult Swim Mystery Trivia Red Carpet Writers Guild of America SDCC The CW Sundance Fall TV Oscars cooking Lionsgate ABC Family Starz science fiction VICE USA Winners GIFs Extras Spring TV BBC America Comedy Central FXX Superheroes Logo Sneak Peek TV Land Rom-Com crime thriller DC Comics Box Office GoT discovery singing competition ITV Horror CNN crime drama Drama NBC sports travel Winter TV TCM Video Games MTV politics TCA Musicals LGBTQ Certified Fresh vampires Freeform harry potter TCA 2017 BBC Election ESPN sitcom FOX Rock Tumblr diversity Country WGN Character Guide Food Network NYCC Star Wars Lifetime Cosplay boxoffice ABC Exclusive Video Watching Series OWN Disney Channel docudrama social media cinemax AMC Bravo Schedule First Look Animation Toys Awards Summer VH1 El Rey Podcast Action Amazon TIFF Martial Arts Best and Worst Nickelodeon 007 Calendar Year in Review Valentine's Day 24 frames Masterpiece Biopics Thanksgiving Opinion Netflix Comedy TBS MSNBC CMT Crackle Pirates Grammys CBS All Access Ghostbusters Nat Geo Marathons Holidays dramedy 2015 TNT Polls and Games Nominations CBS Disney Premiere Dates thriller adventure Cartoon Network