Belfast Telegraph

Writer-director Paul Mazursky dies

Writer and director Paul Mazursky has died at the age of 84.

The filmmaker died of pulmonary cardiac arrest at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, his spokeswoman Nancy Willen said.

Mazursky is known for writing and directing such films as Bob And Carol And Ted And Alice and Enemies, A Love Story and racked up five Oscar nominations during his career.

He also created memorable roles for the likes of Art Carney, Jill Clayburgh and Natalie Wood.

Later in life, Mazursky acted in TV series including The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Once And Again.

Mazursky was born in Brooklyn in 1930 and got started as an actor in student plays, although he found the most success behind the camera.

He and his writing partner Larry Tucker first triumphed with the script for Bob And Carol And Ted And Alice, a clever take-off on the emerging sexual freedom of the late 1960s. Warner Bros turned it down for fear of its racy subject, but Columbia scooped it up and accepted Mazursky's proviso that he would direct the film.

Natalie Wood and Robert Culp portrayed Carol and Bob, a well-off couple who seek open lives. Dyan Cannon and Elliott Gould played Alice and Ted, who hesitate but acquiesce in Carol and Bob's invitation to wife-swapping. In the end, the quartet bow to the old morality and the wife-swapping remains unconsummated.

His later films included the autobiographical Next Stop, Greenwich Village, An Unmarried Woman, Tempest, Moscow On The Hudson and Down And Out In Beverly Hills.

"I know there are some wonderful filmmakers with really tragic views of life," Mazursky told The Atlantic magazine. "But for me absurdity is just around the corner. I see it all the time."

Over the years, he was nominated four times for screenplay Oscars: 1969's Bob And Carol And Ted And Alice, 1974's Harry And Tonto, 1978's An Unmarried Woman and 1989's Enemies, A Love Story. As a co-producer, he also shared in the best picture nomination for An Unmarried Woman.

He is survived by his wife, daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchild.

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