R.I.P. Paul Mazursky

John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands in Paul Mazursky’s “Tempest.”

“I seem to have a natural bent toward humor and I seem to make people laugh, but I think there is in me a duality. I like to make people cry also. I like to deal with relationships. The perfect picture for me does all that.” – Paul Mazursky

Director/actor/writer Paul Mazursky has passed away at the age of 84. A quick look at his IMDB page tells me that he directed six performers in Oscar-nominated performances, and that kind of says it all about the kinds of films he directed (not to mention wrote). It’s also not surprising that most of those nominated were women: Mazursky was awesome at directing women, Jill Clayburgh in Unmarried Woman being the most obvious example. She was such a strange and specific talent, somewhat uncontrollable, awkward, and he just let her BE that. It’s an amazing performance.

He himself was nominated for 4 Oscars as a screenwriter. I loved his Tempest very much. It was wonderful to see John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands on screen together in something NOT directed by Cassavetes. It put a whole new perspective on who they were, and how talented they were. There’s a magic in the whole thing, a kind of insouciant joy and strangeness that totally captivated me when I first saw it in the theatre and remains today. Mazursky was a wonderful actor too. Very talented man.

Rest in peace, Paul Mazursky.


Please go read my friend Dan Callahan’s wonderful piece on Paul Mazursky.

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2 Responses to R.I.P. Paul Mazursky

  1. Kent says:

    So sad. Like losing a beloved uncle, who also happens to be a gifted filmmaker! Forever grateful for his many gifts.

    • sheila says:

      I know. And that early run of films – so wonderful, the performances so great. I loved his focus on PEOPLE – which I think Dan mentioned in his piece too (and much more eloquently than I just did). People, in all their mess and complexity and dear-ness, and strangeness … Mazursky was into it all. Loved him.

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