Paul Mazursky  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Paul Mazursky (April 25, 1930 – June 30, 2014) was an American film director, screenwriter, and actor. Acclaimed for his dramatic comedies, he was nominated for five Academy Awards. Notable films written and directed by Mazursky include Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), Harry and Tonto (1974), Moscow on the Hudson (1984), and Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986).



Mazursky made his film debut as an actor in Stanley Kubrick's first feature, Fear and Desire, in which he changed his first name to Paul, and later appeared as a juvenile delinquent in the 1955 film The Blackboard Jungle. He soon became a writer and worked on The Danny Kaye Show in 1963. In 1965, he collaborated with Larry Tucker in crafting the script of the original pilot of The Monkees television series, in which they both also appeared in cameos.

His acting career has continued for several decades, starting with television work in episodes of The Twilight Zone and The Rifleman. He has played supporting roles in A Star Is Born (1976), History of the World Part I (1981), Into the Night (1985), Punchline (1988), Man Trouble (1992), Carlito's Way (1993), Love Affair (1994), 2 Days in the Valley (1996) and Crazy in Alabama (1999). He also performed the voice of the Psychologist in Antz (1998).

Mazursky's debut as a film screenplay writer was the Peter Sellers comedy I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968). The following year he directed his first film Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (produced by Larry Tucker). His career behind the camera would continue for the next two decades as he would direct an impressive string of quirky, dramatic and critically popular films including Alex in Wonderland (1970), Blume in Love (1973), Harry and Tonto (1974), the autobiographical Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976), An Unmarried Woman (1978), Willie and Phil (1980), Tempest (1982), Moscow on the Hudson (1984), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Moon Over Parador (1988), Enemies, a Love Story (1989) and Scenes from a Mall (1991).

Following his film making satire The Pickle (1993), Mazursky has worked only sporadically as a director on such films as Faithful (1996), Winchell (1998), Coast to Coast (2003) and most recently the documentary Yippee (2006).

He has recently published his autobiography in which he recounts his experiences in film making and several well-known screen personalities including Peter Sellers.

Mazursky has appeared as himself in a number of documentaries on film, including A Decade Under the Influence, New York at the Movies and Screenwriters: Words Into Image. In Moon Over Parador, with the Rio Opera House available for only three days of shooting, Mazursky cast himself as a dictator's mother when Judith Malina was unavailable, playing the character in drag.

In recent years, Mazursky had a small part as "Sunshine" the poker dealer in The Sopranos. He also appeared in five episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm as Mel Brooks' associate Norm.

Mazursky has received five Academy Award nominations, four for his screenplay writing on Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), Harry and Tonto (1974), An Unmarried Woman (1978) and Enemies, a Love Story (1989), and once as producer of An Unmarried Woman (nominated for Best Picture).


As writer and director

As writer only

As director only

Selected acting credits

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Paul Mazursky" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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