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Tootsie Director Sydney Pollack


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'Tootsie' Actor/Director Sydney Pollack

by Raquel Maria Dillon, Associated Press Writer

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Sydney Pollack

LOS ANGELES, California -- Academy Award-winning Director Sydney Pollack, a Hollywood mainstay who achieved commercial success and critical acclaim with the gender-bending comedy, "Tootsie" and the period drama, "Out of Africa," while often dabbling as a television and movie actor, died from cancer on Monday, May 26. He was 73.

Pollack died of cancer Monday afternoon at his home in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, surrounded by family, said publicist Leslee Dart. Pollack had been diagnosed with cancer about nine months ago, said Dart.

Pollack, who occasionally appeared on the big screen himself, worked with and gained the respect of Hollywood's best actors in a long career that reached prominence in the 1970s and 1980s.

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George Clooney and Sydney Pollack in 'Michael Clayton'

"Sydney made the world a little better, movies a little better and even dinner a little better. A tip of the hat to a class act," George Clooney said in a statement from his publicist. "He'll be missed terribly," Clooney added.

Last fall, he played law firm boss, Marty Bach, opposite Clooney in "Michael Clayton," a drama that examines the life of fixer for lawyers. The film, which Pollack co-produced, received seven Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture and a Best Actor nod for Clooney. Tilda Swinton won the Oscar for Supporting Actress.

Pollack was no stranger to the Academy Awards. In 1986, "Out of Africa," a romantic epic of a woman's passion set against the landscape of colonial Kenya, captured seven Oscars, including a statuette for Best Director.

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Meryl Streep and Sydney Pollack

In accepting his Oscar, Pollack commended Meryl Streep, who was nominated for Best Actress but didn't win. "I could not have made this movie without Meryl Streep," Pollack said. "She is astounding

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Very sad. As a big movie fan... this is a big loss. He was a genuine original and had a wonderful sense of humor, which showed in the movies he directed, produced and acted in. I give my utmost condolences to his family and friends.

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