Director Sidney Lumet Passes Away at 86

The man behind such classics as ‘Network’, ‘Dog Day Afternoon’, and ‘12 Angry Men’ succumbs to lymphoma in his Manhattan home.

Sidney Lumet passes away at 86
Sidney Lumet passes away at 86
Legendary director Sidney Lumet, the man behind such classic films as 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, and Network, passed away Saturday morning in his Manhattan home at the age of 86. The cause of death was lymphoma.

Sidney Lumet was a technical genius known for his ability to get Oscar-worthy performances out of his actors. A thick social commentary runs throughout the late director's oeuvre, as he was an artist whose life goal was to examine the consequences of prejudice, corruption, and betrayal. Often compared to his contemporary Martin Scorsese, Sidney directed more than forty movies in his lifetime, most of which were set in New York City.

Lumet began his career as an actor on Broadway at a very young age, appearing alongside such icons as Yul Brynner and Eli Wallach. He made his stage directing debut in 1955, and then went onto direct for CBS, helming numerous episodes of both Danger and You Are There.

He made his directorial debut with the 1957 classic 12 Angry Men, which was nominated for Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay Oscars. He would later direct the late Marlon Brando in The Fugitive Kind, and made a name for himself throughout the 60s with films such as Fail-Safe and A Long Day's Journey Into Night.

He found great commercial success in 1973 and 1975 with Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon, two films that propelled Al Pacino to stardom, and the later of which garnered six Academy Award nominations. It is perhaps his 1976 masterpiece Network that is most remembered, having won four Academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress. His very next project was The Wiz, which reimagined the The Wizard of Oz with an all-black cast. The movie was a substantial bomb, proving that Sidney Lumet wasn't prefect.

The director continued working throughout the last three decades, directing modest hits like Power and Running on Empty. His last appearance as an actor was in the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate, and his last film was 2007's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, which starred Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke.

Though his films had won numerous Academy Awards, Sidney Lumet himself never received one for directing. In 2005, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented him with an Honorary Award.

Sidney Lumet is survived by his wife since 1980, Mary Gimbel, his stepdaughter Leslie Gimbel, his two daughters Amy Lumet and Jenny Lumet, his stepson Bailey Gimbel, nine grandchildren and a great grandson.

Sources: New York Times

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Comments (20)

  1. m2

    R.I.P :(

    4 years agoby @m2Flag

  2. Justhim_sir

    Hey, a lot of black appreciate the wiz movie, a classic in their eyes.

    4 years agoby @justhim-sirFlag

  3. slysnide

    R.I.P. Lumet. Favorite had to be '75s "Dog Day Afternoon." Classic.

    4 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  4. Chris


    4 years agoby @unknown21Flag

  5. Julian Left

    Thumbs down because it saddened me.

    4 years agoby @julianleftFlag

  6. Lautarous

    "Fail-Safe" . . . that's a film I haven't seen yet.

    I can imagine that now after Lumet's death, his filmography gonna receive a much better treatment in DVD and Blu-Ray editions. . . that's so typical!

    Well, it's a opportunity to discover or rewatch his best work!

    4 years agoby @LautarousFlag

  7. CelluloidDreams

    Network (1976) - I want you to go to the window, open it, stick your head out and yell: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore."

    Love this film ....Faye Dunaway rocks in it!!

    4 years agoby @2movieguysFlag

  8. CelluloidDreams


    Do not grieve at the passing of mortality,for life's but a thing of terrible gravity.And the planets gravitate around you, and the stars shall dance about you,and the angels in heaven adore you,and the saints all stand and applaud you. So faraway, so faraway and yet so close. Nick Cave, "Far Away, So Close"

    Best Films:

    Murder on the Orient Express
    Dog Day Afternoon
    Running on Empty
    Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
    Dog Day Afternoon
    The Morning After - Jane Fonda, Jeff Bridges
    12 Angry Men - Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb
    The Pawnbroker

    4 years agoby @2movieguysFlag

  9. JonSpidey07

    RIP man
    and weird because Im about to watch 12 Angry Men in class

    4 years agoby @jonspidey07Flag

  10. Furankisan

    One of my heroes and a fellow New Yorker. Great film school 101 when you listen to his commentaries on his films. My fav: Fail-Safe (1964) a much better film than Dr. Stangelove even tho they are both diff takes on the same subject. 2 classics in Black & White!

    4 years agoby @furankisanFlag

  11. Lautarous

    Magnificents films as "12 Angry Men" (1957), "The Fugitive Kind" (1960), "The Pawnbroker" (1964), "Serpico" (1973) and "Dog Day Afternoom" (1975) are a few good examples of Lumet's talent, professionalism and social sensibility.

    He truly is one of the greatest american filmmakers. Sidney has passed away, buth his legacy will live long to reenchant new generations.

    My sympathies and best wishes to his family and friends!

    4 years agoby @LautarousFlag

  12. David-Dvd-1988

    Made 3 of the greatest films of the 70s in Dog Day Afternoon Serpico and Network R.I.P.

    4 years agoby @david-dvd-1988Flag

  13. CUPID

    Everyones gotta go sometime :P

    4 years agoby @cupidFlag

  14. Fat_Jesus


    God that alone makes me give this man all the respect in the world.

    4 years agoby @fat-jesusFlag

  15. ejk1

    Mr. Lumet, the first movie you directed is a great factor into my decision to become a lawyer (even though no lawyer appears). 12 Angry Men is one of the best acted movies of all-time, and the fact that it was your debut is an incredible testament to your talent. The fact that you were the architect of Peter Finch's legendary role in Network only adds to the greatness of your talents. RIP, Mr. Lumet.

    4 years agoby @ejk1Flag

  16. skywise

    His films were outstanding. RIP Lumet.

    4 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  17. the Narrator

    Bummer. I enjoyed Dog Day Afternoon, and his other works. R.I.P.

    4 years agoby @narratorFlag

  18. SherlockHolmes2009

    Great man R.I.P.

    4 years agoby @SherlockHolmes2009Flag

  19. Cripple

    This really makes me sad, he is a terrific director. RIP.

    4 years agoby @crippleFlag

  20. Dan

    Holy sh*t....

    RIP, great sir.

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag

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