Sydney Pollack

By Susan King, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Sydney Pollack, who died Monday of pancreatic cancer, was not an auteur director. He never left his personal stamp on a film. Some critics even said he didn't have much of a visual style. But Pollack, 73, was a brilliant storyteller who was comfortable working in genres from dramas to comedies to political thrillers to westerns. A former acting teacher -- Pollack married former pupil Claire Griswold in 1958 -- who returned to acting in his 1982 hit, "Tootsie," Pollack's major strength as a director was his extraordinary ability to work with actors to bring out perfectly nuanced performances. His collaboration with Robert Redford led to some of Pollack's best films, including 1985's "Out of Africa," which won him the best director Oscar. Pollack also had a strong track record as an executive producer and producer of such films as "Iris," "The Quiet American," "Cold Mountain" and "Michael Clayton," for which he received a best picture Oscar nomination. Pollack also appeared in the film as Clayton's high-powered boss. Here's a look back at Pollack's work both behind and in front of the camera.
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