Paul Mazursky, the innovative and versatile director who showed the absurdity of modern life in such movies as Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and An Unmarried Woman, has died. He was 84.
As a talented writer, actor and producer as well as director, Mazursky racked up five Oscar nominations, mostly for writing films. He also created memorable roles for the likes of Art Carney, Jill Clayburgh and Natalie Wood. Later in life, Mazursky acted in TV series such as The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Once and Again.
Mazursky also co-created The Monkees television series,
He was born Irwin Mazursky in 1930, in Brooklyn. When he left school he changed his name from Irwin, which he hated, to Paul.
Mazursky always dreamed of becoming an actor, and appeared in student plays at Brooklyn College. He acted in Fear and Desire, director Stanley Kubrick's first film. When he received bad reviews, Mazursky buckled down to study acting. But he found the most success behind the camera.
Mazursky and his writing partner Larry Tucker first triumphed with the script for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a clever take-off on the emerging sexual freedom of the late 1960s. Warner Bros turned it down for fear of its racy subject, but Columbia scooped it up and accepted that Mazursky would direct the film.
Over the years, he was nominated four times for screenplay Oscars: 1969's Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, 1974's Harry and Tonto, 1978's An Unmarried Woman and 1989's Enemies, A Love Story. As a co-producer, he also shared in the best picture nomination for An Unmarried Woman.
He is survived by his wife, Betsy, and daughter Jill.