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Thread: Robert Altman dead at age 81

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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Default Robert Altman dead at age 81

    Short and to the point...not many specifics yet.


    Robert Altman has passed away today in a Los Angeles hospital. No word yet on what he died of. He was 81.

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    i just saw this too - weird i was just talking about him with my friends last night after watching prairie home companion on DVD... rest in peace.

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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Damn fine director. Peace out!

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    He'd had heart problems for years, and had major surgery more than once. He made some great movies that people are still imitating.

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    omg how sad; he was truly brilliant but I knew the end was near. He hasn't looked very well in while.

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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    Not the easiest guy in the world, but he made some damned interesting
    movies. His specialty: the natural scenes with everyday background
    noises and overlapping dialogue. He directed my dear Warren (with
    Julie Christie) once in the fantastic (anti) Western "McCabe and Mrs.
    Miller". R.I.P.




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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    I really really love his films. Gosfard Park, for example, is so freakin' good; its undescribable.

    and The Player, my gawd The Player! That is one of the best films ever! Its so freakin' awesome!! U must all see it...u get to see Tim Robbin's schlong too...


    Director Robert Altman dead at 81

    LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Robert Altman, the caustic and irreverent satirist behind "M-A-S-H," "Nashville" and "The Player" who made a career out of bucking Hollywood management and story conventions, died at a Los Angeles Hospital, his production company said Tuesday. He was 81.

    The director died Monday night, Joshua Astrachan, a producer at Altman's Sandcastle 5 Productions in New York City, told The Associated Press.

    The cause of death wasn't disclosed. A news release was expected later in the day, Astrachan said.

    A five-time Academy Award nominee for best director, most recently for 2001's "Gosford Park," he finally won a lifetime achievement Oscar in 2006.

    "No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have," Altman said while accepting the award. "I'm very fortunate in my career. I've never had to direct a film I didn't choose or develop. My love for filmmaking has given me an entree to the world and to the human condition."

    Altman had one of the most distinctive styles among modern filmmakers. He often employed huge ensemble casts, encouraged improvisation and overlapping dialogue and filmed scenes in long tracking shots that would flit from character to character.

    Perpetually in and out of favor with audiences and critics, Altman worked ceaselessly since his anti-war black comedy "M-A-S-H" established his reputation in 1970, but he would go for years at a time directing obscure movies before roaring back with a hit.

    After a string of commercial duds including "The Gingerbread Man" in 1998, "Cookie's Fortune" in 1999 and "Dr. T & the Women" in 2000, Altman took his all-American cynicism to Britain for 2001's "Gosford Park."

    A combination murder-mystery and class-war satire set among snobbish socialites and their servants on an English estate in the 1930s, "Gosford Park" was Altman's biggest box-office success since "M-A-S-H."

    Besides best-director, "Gosford Park" earned six other Oscar nominations, including best picture and best supporting actress for both Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith. It won the original-screenplay Oscar, and Altman took the best-director prize at the Golden Globes for "Gosford Park."

    Altman's other best-director Oscar nominations came for "M-A-S-H," the country-music saga "Nashville" from 1975, the movie-business satire "The Player" from 1992 and the ensemble character study "Short Cuts" from 1993. He also earned a best-picture nomination as producer of "Nashville."

    No director ever got more best-director nominations without winning a regular Oscar, though four other men -- Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Clarence Brown and King Vidor -- tied with Altman at five.

    In May, Altman brought out "A Prairie Home Companion," with Garrison Keillor starring as the announcer of a folksy musical show -- with the same name as Keillor's own long-running show -- about to be shut down by new owners. Among those in the cast were Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Kline, Woody Harrelson and Tommy Lee Jones.

    "This film is about death," Altman said at a May 3 news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, also attended by Keillor and many of the movie's stars.

    He often took on Hollywood genres with a revisionist's eye, de-romanticizing the Western hero in 1971's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" and 1976's "Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson," the film-noir gumshoe in 1973's "The Long Goodbye" and outlaw gangsters in "Thieves Like Us."

    "M-A-S-H" was Altman's first big success after years of directing television, commercials, industrial films and generally unremarkable feature films. The film starring Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould was set during the Korean War but was Altman's thinly veiled attack on U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

    "That was my intention entirely. If you look at that film, there's no mention of what war it is," Altman said in an Associated Press interview in 2001, adding that the studio made him put a disclaimer at the beginning to identify the setting as Korea.

    "Our mandate was bad taste. If anybody had a joke in the worst taste, it had a better chance of getting into the film, because nothing was in worse taste than that war itself," Altman said.

    The film spawned the long-running TV sitcom starring Alan Alda, a show Altman would refer to with distaste as "that series." Unlike the social message of the film, the series was prompted by greed, Altman said.

    "They made millions and millions of dollars by bringing an Asian war into Americans' homes every Sunday night," Altman said in 2001. "I thought that was the worst taste."

    Altman never minced words about reproaching Hollywood. After the September 11 attacks, he said Hollywood served as a source of inspiration for the terrorists by making violent action movies that amounted to training films for such attacks.

    "Nobody would have thought to commit an atrocity like that unless they'd seen it in a movie," Altman said.

    Altman was written off repeatedly by the Hollywood establishment, and his reputation for arrogance and hard drinking -- a habit he eventually gave up -- hindered his efforts to raise money for his idiosyncratic films.

    While critical of studio executives, Altman held actors in the highest esteem. He joked that on "Gosford Park," he was there mainly to turn the lights on and off for the performers.

    The respect was mutual. Top-name actors would clamor for even bit parts in his films. Altman generally worked on shoestring budgets, yet he continually landed marquee performers who signed on for a fraction of their normal salaries.

    After the mid-1970s, the quality of Altman's films became increasingly erratic. His 1980 musical "Popeye," with Robin Williams, was trashed by critics, and Altman took some time off from film.

    He directed the Broadway production of "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean," following it with a movie adaptation in 1982. Altman went back and forth from TV to theatrical films over the next decade, but even when his films earned critical praise, such as 1990's "Vincent & Theo," they remained largely unseen.

    "The Player" and "Short Cuts" re-established Altman's reputation and commercial viability. But other 1990s films -- including his fashion-industry farce "Ready to Wear" and "Kansas City," his reverie on the 1930s jazz and gangster scene of his hometown -- fell flat.

    Born February 20, 1925, Altman hung out in his teen years at the jazz clubs of Kansas City, Missouri, where his father was an insurance salesman.

    Altman was a bomber pilot in World War II and studied engineering at the University of Missouri in Columbia before taking a job making industrial films in Kansas City. He moved into feature films with "The Delinquents" in 1957, then worked largely in television through the mid 1960s, directing episodes of such series as "Bonanza" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

    Altman and his wife, Kathryn, had two sons, Robert and Matthew, and he had a daughter, Christine, and two other sons, Michael and Stephen, from two previous marriages.

    When he received his honorary Oscar in 2006, Altman revealed he had a heart transplant a decade earlier.

    "I didn't make a big secret out of it, but I thought nobody would hire me again," he said after the ceremony. "You know, there's such a stigma about heart transplants, and there's a lot of us out there."

    www.cnn.com
    dddddddddddddddddddd

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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AliceInWonderland View Post
    omg how sad; he was truly brilliant but I knew the end was near. He hasn't looked very well in while.
    ^Agreed. He looked like death warmed over in the most recent photos.
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    Rest in peace. 81 years seems a good long life though.

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    how sad. i love many of his films.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Silver Member Biatch's Avatar
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    Rest in peace, Mr. Altman.

    And yes, Gosford Park was a totall whoddunit masterpiece.
    Loved The Player -especially for the "schlong" bit

    And The M.A.S.H. ??-- oh the whole series sits on my video library!

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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    ^He directed M*A*S*H the movie, not the series, which he detested.
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    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
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    He made some of the most entertaining and intriguing films.

    Brush with greatness here......When I catered parties he was at one. With Ellen Barkin on one side and Robby Benson on the other, I gently tapped him on the arm and said that I had to say how great I thought it was that he wanted Cher to be in the stage production of Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean.

    He said that she was very gifted and people will see that. He put his arm around me (what a big guy) and thanked me.

    Try and rent "3 Women" with Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek. Haunting, bizarre, well acted.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    good thing he got that 'special' Oscar last year, although I think he deserved one a long time ago...

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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    Turns out he died of cancer, see below SOURCE CNN.COM!!!!!!!!!

    http://edition.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/....ap/index.html
    Director Robert Altman dead at 81
    POSTED: 0641 GMT (1441 HKT), November 22, 2006

    LOS ANGELES, California (AP)
    -- Either you were in awe of his style or
    found it maddening -- the intricately woven story lines, the dizzyingly large
    ensemble casts, the plots that sometimes seemed defiantly plotless.

    Regardless, Robert Altman was one of the most distinctive, influential
    voices in American cinema.

    Altman, a five-time Academy Award nominee for best director whose vast,
    eclectic filmography ranged from the dark war comedy "M-A-S-H" to the
    Hollywood farce "The Player" to the British murder mystery "Gosford Park,"
    has died of complications from cancer. He was 81.

    "He had lived and worked with the disease for the last 18 months, a period
    that included the making of his film 'A Prairie Home Companion,"' the director's
    Sandcastle 5 Productions in New York said in a statement Tuesday. "His
    death was, nevertheless, a surprise: Altman was in pre-production on a film
    he had planned to start shooting in February."

    He died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, surrounded by his wife and
    children.

    When he received a lifetime achievement Oscar in 2006, Altman revealed
    he'd had a heart transplant a decade earlier. "I didn't make a big secret out
    of it, but I thought nobody would hire me again," he said after the
    ceremony. "You know, there's such a stigma about heart transplants, and
    there's a lot of us out there."

    Altman was set to begin work on "Hands on a Hardbody," a fictionalized
    version of the documentary about a Texas contest in which people stand
    around a pickup truck with one hand on the vehicle, and whoever lasts the
    longest wins it.

    The film would have been vintage Altman.

    While he was famous for his outspokenness, which caused him to fall in
    and out of favor in Hollywood over his nearly six decades in the industry,
    he was perhaps even better known for his signature technical style, in
    which he used long tracking shots and intentionally allowed dialogue to
    overlap. (Watch an overview of Altman's career )

    Directors as diverse as Steven Soderbergh and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
    all owe him a serious debt of gratitude; you can look at any ambitious,
    large-scale film with intertwined story lines -- from "Traffic" and "Syriana"
    to this year's "Bobby" and "Babel" -- and call it Altmanesque.

    His most recent example of this technique, "A Prairie Home Companion,"
    starred such varied performers as Lily Tomlin, Meryl Streep, Woody
    Harrelson, Kevin Kline and Lindsay Lohan.

    "I feel as if I've just had the wind knocked out of me and my heart aches,"
    Lohan said Tuesday night in a lengthy e-mail statement. She added, "I
    learned so much from Altman and he was the closest thing to my father
    and grandfather that I really do believe I've had in several years."

    Garrison Keillor, whose radio show provided the basis for the movie, said
    Altman's love of film clearly came through on the set.

    "Mr. Altman loved making movies. He loved the chaos of shooting and the
    sociability of the crew and actors -- he adored actors -- and he loved the
    editing room and he especially loved sitting in a screening room and
    watching the thing over and over with other people," Keillor, who also wrote
    and co-starred in the film, told The Associated Press. "He didn't care for the
    money end of things, he didn't mind doing publicity, but when he was working
    he was in heaven."

    "He was very good at letting actors think that they had more control than
    they actually did," said "Prairie Home Companion" co-star Tommy Lee Jones.

    Altman received best-director Oscar nominations for "M-A-S-H,"
    "Nashville," "The Player," "Short Cuts" and "Gosford Park." No director ever
    got more nominations without winning a competitive Oscar, though four
    other men -- Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Clarence Brown and King
    Vidor -- tied with Altman at five.

    Tom Skerritt, who got his break from Altman on the 1960s TV
    series "Combat!" which led to his role in "M-A-S-H," said the director's
    death left him with "a big void I'm feeling this morning."

    "M-A-S-H" mattered, Skerritt said, because of "the timing, the anti-war
    sentiment," when it came out in 1970. It took place during the Korean War,
    but clearly was an attack on U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

    "He said to me, 'This is a two-ticket film.' I asked what he meant by that;
    I'd never heard that before. He said, 'Well, make it really interesting the first
    time, give 'em a little humor, a little of the opposite and just blast through it
    and make it interesting enough for them to want to come back and buy a
    second ticket to pick up on what they missed the first time.' He knew that
    about it, and he was right. It was a second-, third-, fourth-ticket film."

    Despite his longevity and the many big-name stars who've appeared in his films,
    Altman famously bucked the studio system and was often critical of
    its executives. One of his best-received films, the insiderish "The Player,"
    follows the travails of a studio executive being blackmailed by a writer.

    But amid all those critical hits were several commercial duds, including
    "The Gingerbread Man" in 1998, "Cookie's Fortune" in 1999 and "Dr. T & the
    Women" in 2000. His reputation for arrogance and hard drinking -- a habit
    he eventually gave up -- hindered his efforts to raise money for his
    idiosyncratic films.

    Julian Fellowes, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of 2001's "Gosford Park,"
    called the director "a force of nature."

    "A lifelong rebel, he managed to make the movie industry do his bidding, and
    there are very, very few people who can claim that. He altered both my
    career and my perceptions, vastly for the better, and no matter how long
    I live, I will die grateful to him."

    Born Feb. 20, 1925, Altman hung out in his teen years at the jazz clubs of
    Kansas City, Missouri, where his father was an insurance salesman.

    Altman was a bomber pilot in World War II and studied engineering at the
    University of Missouri in Columbia before taking a job making industrial films
    in Kansas City. He moved into features with "The Delinquents" in 1957, then
    worked largely in television through the mid-1960s, directing episodes of
    such series as "Bonanza" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

    Married three times, Altman is survived by his wife, Kathryn Reed Altman,
    and six children. He also had 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

    It was Altman's love of actors that came through over and over as Hollywood
    reacted to his death. "Short Cuts" co-star Bruce Davison recalled Altman's
    insistence that the cast members join him in watching the rushes every day,
    and that he'd have wine and cheese waiting for them.

    "The best directors I've found are those who are ensemble players, not
    those guys who have great vision and make everyone hammer into that
    mold. ... He wanted you to participate -- we came up with a lot of
    dialogue on our own, it was that kind of collaboration.

    "He was Buffalo Bill," Davison added. "That's who he was."

    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

    ***** celeb

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