Sidney Lumet, the director behind American movie classics such as 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon and The Verdict, died Saturday. He was 86.
Lumet died from lymphoma at his home in New York City his stepdaughter, Leslie Gimbel, tells The New York Times.
The film director, famous for creating art impassioned by social justice and satire, told The Times in 2007 that he made movies not as an attempt to change the world, but for his own love of the field.
“I do it because I like it,” he said. “And it’s a wonderful way to spend your life.”
But his films, which painted portraits of real issues such as corruption and justice, did just that. His movies received 46 Academy Award nominations throughout his career. Although he never personally won the honor for Best Director – which was remedied in 2005 with an honorary award from the Academy – six of his films won Oscars during the peak of his career, between 1974 and 1976. Lumet himself was nominated for Best Director for The Verdict, Network, 12 Angry Men and Dog Day Afternoon.
Lumet, despite having a very Hollywood career, was a New Yorker at heart, and the city he loved was the backdrop for many of his greats, including Serpico (1973) and The Pawnbroker (1964).
“Locations are characters in my movies,” he said. “The city is capable of portraying the mood a scene requires.”
New York seemed to be his most constant love affair. His first three marriages – to actress Rita Gam (1949-1954), socialite Gloria Vanderbilt (1956-1963) and the daughter of Lena Horne, Gail Jones (1963-1978) – ended in divorce. In 1980 he married Mary Gimbel.
He is survived by Gimbel, his two daughters from his marriage with Jones (Amy and Jenny Lumet), his stepdaughter Leslie Gimbel, his stepson Bailey Gimbel, nine grandchildren and a great grandson.