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Paul Mazursky

Writer-director-actor-producer Paul Mazursky has created a body of work over the past thirty years that has established him as one of America's most respected filmmakers. His films are often personal, intimate and humorous observations of the human condition.

Mazursky was born in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn in 1930. He started his performing in school, continuing at Brooklyn College, where in his senior year, he landed the leading role of an off-Broadway production of He Who Gets Slapped. Shortly thereafter, he was cast in Stanley Kubrick's first film Fear and Desire, and two years later in The Blackboard Jungle. During this period, he appeared on TV and performed as a stand-up comic in Greenwich Village clubs.

In 1959, he moved to Los Angeles, where he joined the L.A. company of Second City. Increasingly, his focus shifted to writing for other comics, including Danny Kaye. In due course, he teamed up with like-minded humorist Larry Tucker and together they wrote the screenplays for three feature films, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and Alex in Wonderland. Knowing that he wanted to direct, Mazursky used his success to gain Columbia Pictures' confidence, and he made his directorial debut with Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Now considered a classic, the film opened the 1969 New York Film Festival. His screenplay collaboration with Tucker received an Academy Award nomination. As director and co-writer, Mazursky followed Bob & Carol with Alex in Wonderland (starring Donald Sutherland), Harry & Tonto (Oscar nomination for best screenplay, written with Josh Greenfield), and Next Stop, Greenwich Village.

1978 saw the triumphant release of Mazursky's An Unmarried Woman. Star Jill Clayburgh was named best actress at the Cannes Film Festival. Mazursky was nominated again for an Oscar for best screenplay.

Mazursky continued with Willie and Phil, Tempest, and Moscow on the Hudson, which established Robin Williams as an actor of formidable range.

Mazursky then directed the smash hit comedy Down and Out in Beverly Hills, starring Bette Midler and Nick Nolte.

Mazursky's other films include Moon Over Parador, Enemies: A Love Story (which garnered three Oscar nominations and earned the New York Film Critics Award for best director), Scenes from a Mall (starring Woody Allen and Bette Midler), The Pickle (with Danny Aiello), and Faithful, starring Chazz Palminteri, Cher and Ryan O'Neal. His latest film is the HBO movie Winchell, with Stanley Tucci, Glenne Headly and Paul Giamatti.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Paul Mazursky Facts

Birth NameIrwin Mazursky
BirthdayApril 25, 1930 (93)
BirthplaceBrooklyn, New York, USA

Selected Filmography

Moon Over Parador
Moscow On The Hudson
Down And Out In Beverly Hills
Harry and Tonto
Ruthless People / Down and Out in Beverly Hills
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
Scenes From A Mall
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