Byline: Derrik J. Lang
LOS ANGELES -- Paul Mazursky, the innovative and versatile director who showed the absurdity of modern life in such movies as "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice'' and "An Unmarried Woman,'' has died. He was 84.
The filmmaker died of pulmonary cardiac arrest Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Nancy Willen, Mazursky's spokeswoman.
As a talented writer, actor and producer as well as director, Mazursky racked up five Oscar nominations, mostly for writing such films as "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice'' and "Enemies, A Love Story.'' He also created memorable roles for the likes of Art Carney, Jill Clayburgh and Natalie Wood. Later in life, Mazursky acted in such TV series as "The Sopranos,'' "Curb Your Enthusiasm'' and "Once and Again.''
He was born Irwin Mazursky in 1930, in Brooklyn. During the Depression, the family lived on the small wages his father earned as a laborer for the federal Works Progress Administration. When Mazursky graduated from high school, he changed his name from Irwin, which had hated, to Paul.
Mazursky had always dreamed of becoming an actor, and he appeared in student plays at Brooklyn College. With the school's permission, he flew to California to act in "Fear and Desire,'' director Stanley Kubrick's first film. When he received bad reviews, Mazursky buckled down to studying acting with a variety of teachers, including Lee Strasberg. But he found the most success behind the camera.
Mazursky and his writing partner Larry Tucker first triumphed with the...