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

President E! thriller Country SDCC vampires TLC Syfy TNT USA discovery LGBTQ GIFs Set visit Tumblr TCA 2017 crime transformers YA Extras Certified Fresh biography PBS social media Ellie Kemper Netflix Toys TruTV 2015 2017 VH1 WGN comiccon NBC Comic Book FX TV Land Red Carpet Rocky serial killer IFC Logo Infographic Mindy Kaling zombie Election First Look The CW ABC Reality Hulu Character Guide sports Schedule Polls and Games Superheroes crime thriller Food Network ITV Warner Bros. police drama Biopics Year in Review period drama Horror Nominations Winners BBC America cops Video Games ABC Family Spring TV Kids & Family travel Ghostbusters Thanksgiving Rock OWN Mystery VICE science fiction TCA Podcast APB Sci-Fi Adult Swim CNN Lionsgate AMC 007 Masterpiece 24 frames CBS supernatural 2016 Holidays Countdown Cosplay Grammys DirecTV aliens Fall TV Universal Star Wars PaleyFest E3 Pop Nickelodeon TIFF Disney Channel Comedy Fox News Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt dramedy Sneak Peek TBS Lifetime politics MTV MSNBC Drama Paramount BBC Premiere Dates crime drama Fantasy Oscars based on movie Showtime Photos DC Universe singing competition Starz Box Office Winter TV Writers Guild of America docudrama X-Men historical drama Awards Marvel cinemax FOX El Rey History Sundance technology cats 45 Opinion NYCC Cartoon Network DC Comics Super Bowl Marathons Best and Worst The Arrangement Interview Musicals Reality Competition Tomatazos romance Freeform GLAAD Martial Arts Action ESPN Crackle what to watch Bravo talk show GoT political drama CMT adventure BET Mary Tyler Moore Disney Musical psycho Star Trek Amazon Trailer HBO composers Emmys diversity Pirates FXX harry potter Esquire Rom-Com war TCM Calendar Summer American Society of Cinematographers Watching Series SundanceTV A&E Trivia TV Nat Geo CBS All Access Valentine's Day Animation cooking RT History Teen sitcom Comedy Central boxoffice Music Dark Horse Comics