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Director Stuart Rosenberg


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'Amityville' Director Stuart Rosenberg

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Stuart Rosenberg

LOS ANGELES, California -- Stuart Rosenberg, the director of the original films, "Amityville Horror" and "Cool Hand Luke," died of a heart attack on Thursday, March 15 in his Beverly Hills home, according to reported news sources. He was 79.

Rosenberg, a director of films and series television, was born in Brooklyn in 1927. While studying Irish literature at New York University, he met his future wife, Margot Pohoryles and earned much needed extra income as an apprentice film editor in television.

By 1957, he had become an editor and finally a director on the police series, "Decoy." This began his career in series television that included "Naked City," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Bus Stop," "The Untouchables," "Twilight Zone," "Espionage," "The Defenders," "For the People" and "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre."

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Stuart Rosenberg directed Paul Newman in 'Cool Hand Luke'

Rosenberg got a taste of film directing in 1958 with "Murder, Inc.," but was replaced when the actors' and screenwriters' unions went on strike and forced him to leave the film. Instead, he made his first fully realized theatrical debut with "Cool Hand Luke."

"Cool Hand Luke," a gritty, riveting tale about life on a chain gang, starred Paul Newman as the charming and rebellious Lucas Jackson, a nonconformist who becomes a reluctant hero to his fellow inmates. The film earned four Oscars, with George Kennedy taking home one award for Best Supporting Actor.

The movie also provided one of the most quoted lines of that film era, spoken by the camp's warden, played by Strother Martin, "What we've got here is failure to communicate." Rosenberg was nominated for a Directors' Guild Award for the film, but lost to Mike Nichols, who made "The Graduate" the same year.

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Stuart Rosenberg directed Robert Redford in 'Brubaker'

Rosenberg had found the novel, written by Donn Pearce, at Pickwick Bookstore in Hollywood and brought it to Jack Lemmon's production company. "It was the first time I had come across an existentialist hero

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