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

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