Thursday, July 3, 2014

Paul Mazursky Passes On

Actor and director Paul Mazursky died on 30 June 2014 at the age of 84. The cause was pulmonary cardiac arrest.

 Paul Mazursky was born  Irwin Mazursky on 25 April 1930 in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn in 1947. He attended Brooklyn College, where he took part in dramatic productions at the school. He made his film debut in Stanley Kubrick's Fear and Desire in 1953. In the late Fifties as an actor Mr. Mazursky appeared in the film Blackboard Jungle (1955). He guest starred on such shows as The United States Steel Hour, The Kaiser Aluminum Hour, Robert Montgomery Presents, and The Chevy Mystery Show.

It was in the Sixties that Paul Mazursky broke into writing with an episode of The Rifleman, "Tinhorn", which aired in 1962. Mr. Mazursky also wrote the pilot for The Monkees ("Here Come The Monkees") with Larry Tucker, for which they received a "developed by" credit. He also wrote material for The Danny Kaye Show. In the Sixties Mr. Mazursky wrote screenplays for the short "Last Year at Malibu" (1962--which he also directed) and the features I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968), Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969--which he also directed), and Alex in Wonderland (1970--which he also directed). It was also in the Sixties that Paul Mazursky began directing as well. He made his directorial debut with the short "Last Year in Malibu", then directed the features Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), and Alex in Wonderland (1970).  Mr. Mazursky continued to act, guest starring on such shows as Outlaws, Michael Shayne, The Dick Powell Theatre, The Untouchables, The Detectives, The Twilight Zone, The Rifleman, The Real McCoys, The Monkees, and Love on a Rooftop. He appeared in the films Deathwatch (1966), I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968), Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), and Alex in Wonderland (1970).

In the Seventies Paul Mazursky directed Blume in Love (1973), Harry and Tonto (1974), Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976), An Unmarried Woman (1978), and Willie & Phil (1980). As an actor he guest starred on the show Getting Together and appeared in the films The Other Side of the Wind (1972), Blume in Love (1973), A Star Is Born (1976), An Unmarried Woman (1978), and A Man, a Woman and a Bank (1979).

In the Eighties he directed Tempest (1982), Moscow on the Hudson (1984), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Moon Over Parador (1988), and Enemies: A Love Story (1989). As an actor he appeared in the films Moscow on the Hudson (1984), Into the Night (1985), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Punchline (1988), Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989), and Enemies: A Love Story (1989).

In the Nineties he directed Scenes from a Mall (1991), The Pickle (1993), and Faithful (1996). Into the Naughts he continued his directorial career on television, directing the TV movies Winchell, Coast to Coast, and Yippee. In the Nineties he acted in such films as Scenes from a Mall (1991), Man Trouble (1992), The Pickle (1993), Carlito's Way (1993), Love Affair (1994), Miami Rhapsody (1995), Faithful (1996), 2 Days in the Valley (1996), Touch (1997), Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998), and Crazy in Alabama (1999). He provided the voice of the psychologist in the animated feature Antz (1998).  He guest starred on the shows Frasier and The Sopranos. He had a recurring role on Once and Again.

In the Naughts Mr. Marzursky had a recurring role on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He appeared in the films Da wan (2001), Do It for Uncle Manny (2002), I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (2006), Cattle Call (2006), and Hopelessly Devoted (2010). He provided a voice in Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011).

Paul Mazursky was a singular filmmaker. He had the ability to blend satire with sentimentality in such a way that it appeared seamless. He could lampoon current trends in society and yet at the same time remain sympathetic to the characters who were involved in those trends. In many ways his films chronicle the changing landscape of late 20th Century America.  Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice touched upon wife swapping and group therapy. Harry And Tonto dealt with ageing. An Unmarried Woman centred upon divorce and its consequences. In all of his films Paul Mazursky was able to bring out the humour in the changes occurring in America in the late 20th Century, while at the same time giving us glimpses at the inner workings of his characters' minds. Quite simply Paul Mazursky achieved a balance that few other directors have. He was able to address changes in American culture while remaining focused on the characters and their lives in his films.

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