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Sydney Pollack Blogathon- Pollack the actor

July 17, 2013

Apart from being a great director, Sydney Pollack , was an equally good actor too, mostly playing strong supporting roles. While many have explored Pollack’s directorial skills, very few have dwelt on his career as an actor. In this excellent post,  Edward Copeland,  looks at  Pollack’s career as an actor, covering some memorable roles he did, in this post.  In his own words.

For 40 years, from 1965 to 2005, Sydney Pollack directed 19 feature films. His last directing effort appeared as an installment of PBS’ American Masters series on the architect Frank Gehry. Prior to that, he directed lots of episodic television. As Pollack reached the end of his life (and beyond it) he produced projects more than he directed and toward the end he also resumed the artistic endeavor where he started, acting more and more often. When he ventured into show business, he aimed toward acting. His father hoped that Pollack would pursue a career in dentistry, but after catching the theater bug in high school in South Bend, Ind., he left for New York following graduation and studied with legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner at Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse (The same year he directed the American Masters special on Frank Gehry, he executive produce another episode of the series on Meisner). Eventually, he became an assistant to Meisner and even taught acting to others, though in a 2006 interview with Venice Magazine, Pollack resisted calling the technique he learned and passed on “The Method.” “People call a lot of things ‘The Method,’ but there really isn’t one Method,” Pollack said, “but it’s all derived from Stanislavsky. It’s all derived from Stanislavsky, but Stella Adler taught it different than Sandy Meisner and Strasberg taught it differently from both of them, and Harold Clurman taught it differently than the three of them, and Bobby Lewis took it in his own direction, as well. They each took The Moscow Art Theater of Stanislavsky and basic principles, and then developed their own approach. The goal was always the same: to find a way to analyze the construction of truthful behavior within imaginary circumstances.”

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