ALAN J. PAKULA Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: Alan J. Pakula                                                                     
Born: 7 April 1928 Bronx, New York City, New York, USA                                   
Died: 11 July 1998 Melville, Long Island, New York, USA                                   
Alan Jay Pakula (April 7, 1928 – November 19, 1998) was an American film               
producer, writer and director noted for his contributions to the conspiracy               
thriller genre.                                                                           
Pakula was born in New York to Polish Jewish parents and was educated at Yale             
University, where he majored in drama. He started his Hollywood career as an             
assistant in the cartoon department at Warner Brothers. In 1957, he undertook             
his first production role for Paramount Pictures. In 1962, he produced To Kill a         
Mockingbird, for which he received a Best Picture nomination in the 1963 Academy         
Awards. In 1969, he directed his first feature, The Sterile Cuckoo, starring             
Liza Minnelli.                                                                           
From October 19, 1963 to 1971, Pakula was married to actress Hope Lange.                 
In 1971, Pakula released the first installment of what would informally come to           
be known as his "paranoia trilogy". Klute, the story of a private eye's                   
relationship with a call girl (played by Jane Fonda, who won an Oscar for her             
performance), was a commercial and critical success. This was followed in 1974           
by The Parallax View starring Warren Beatty, a similarly labyrinthine post-Watergate     
thriller notable for its experimental use of hypnotic imagery in a celebrated             
film-within-a-film sequence in which the protagonist is inducted into the                 
mysterious Parallax Corporation.                                                         
Finally, in 1976, Pakula rounded out the "trilogy" with All the President's Men,         
another commercial hit considered by many critics and fans to be one of the best         
thrillers of the 1970s. The film was based on the bestselling account of the             
Watergate scandal written by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.                             
Pakula scored another hit in 1982 with Sophie's Choice, starring Meryl Streep.           
His screenplay, based on the novel by William Styron, was nominated for an               
Academy Award. In later years, he largely focused on courtroom dramas, achieving         
commercial success with Presumed Innocent, based on the bestselling novel by             
Scott Turow, and The Pelican Brief, an adaptation of the John Grisham bestseller.         
Pakula died in 1998 in a bizarre car accident on the Long Island Expressway in           
Melville, New York at the age of 70. A driver in front of him struck a metal             
pipe, which went through Pakula's windshield, striking him in the head and               
causing him to swerve off the road and into a fence, killing him instantly.