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American filmmaker and actor Paul Mazursky dead at 84

Paul Mazursky
Paul Mazursky
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez

American filmmaker and actor Paul Mazursky passed away Monday, he was 84 years old. Best known for directing such movies as "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice", "Moscow on the Hudson", "Harry & Tonto", "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" and "Moon Over Parador". He was also an actor who made his debut as an actor in Stanley Kubrick's feature film directorial debut "Fear and Desire". In early 2014, Mazursky was honored by the Writers Guild of America with the Laurel Award for "Screenwriting Achievement".

Born on April 25, 1930 as Irwin Mazursky in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up he was always interested in acting and pursued a career in show business by studying method acting with Lee Strasberg. After graduated from Brooklyn College in 1951, Mazursky worked on Broadway and made small appearances on television. He made his film debut in "Fear and Desire" followed by the 1955 film "Blackboard Jungle". But his biggest success would be as a filmmaker and in 1969 he would write and direct the surprise hit "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice".

Mazursky would continue to direct quirky comedies in the seventies such as "Alex in Wonderland", "Harry and Tonto", "Blume in Love", "Next Stop, Greenwich Village" and "An Unmarried Woman". He would continue to act and direct in films but none of his latter films would come close to his "classic" era. Over the course of his career, Paul Mazursky would have been nominated for four Academy Awards and a Golden Globe. As an actor, he would co-star in Hollywood productions such as "Carlito's Way", "History of the World, Part One", "Antz", "Kung Fu Panda 2" and "Miami Rhapsody".

Paul Mazursky was a unique filmmaker who created odd quirky Hollywood films that straddled the line of the mainstream. As a screenwriter, he crafted realistic characters and smart dialog. He also took his acting seriously by making his mark in the business as a scenery chewing character actor and he will be missed.

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