Paul Mazursky

Paul Mazursky

Date of Birth

Date of Birth: April 25, 1930
Date of Passing: June 30, 2014
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Obituary: New York Times

Paul Mazursky was a filmmaker and performer who captured the cultural and social upheaval of the late 1960s and 1970s as the writer and director of such acclaimed movies as Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Blume in Love and An Unmarried Woman, and decades later became a familiar face to TV viewers thanks to roles in several popular series of the early 2000s.

Paul Mazursky was a filmmaker and performer who captured the cultural and social upheaval of the late 1960s and 1970s as the writer and director of such acclaimed movies as Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Blume in Love and An Unmarried Woman, and decades later became a familiar face to TV viewers thanks to roles in several popular series of the early 2000s.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Mazursky developed an interest in acting as a young man, and by the time he graduated from Brooklyn College in 1951, he had appeared in student productions, an Off-Broadway play and broke into movies with a role in Stanley Kubrick’s first feature, Fear and Desire.

In 1955 he had a part in The Blackboard Jungle, a gritty drama set in a rough New York City vocational school, starring Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier.

He soon found work in television during the era of live production. Early credits included The United States Steel Hour, Robert Montgomery Presents and The Chevy Mystery Show. In the years that followed, he performed stand-up comedy and continued to find acting work in television, but by the early 1960s he also had begun writing, beginning with a 1962 episode of the the western drama The Rifleman. Shortly afterward he joined the writing staff of the variety program The Danny Kaye Show, for which he received Emmy nominations in 1964 and 1966.

In 1965, Mazursky and co-writer Larry Tucker penned the script for the original pilot of the popular TV series The Monkees.

His first screenplay to be produced — also written with Tucker — was I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!, a 1968 spoof of hippie culture starring Peter Sellers. The following year he made his directorial debut with Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a comedy that mined humor from such of-the-moment social trends as wife-swapping and encounter groups. Over the next two decades he made a string of films that melded comedy, social commentary and, at times, wrenching drama. They included Blume in Love, Next Stop, Greenwich Village, An Unmarried Woman, Harry and Tonto, Willie and Phil, Moscow on the Hudson, Down and Out in Beverly Hills and Enemies, a Love Story.

Mazursky received four Oscar nominations as a screenwriter — for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Harry and Tonto, An Unmarried Woman and Enemies, a Love Story. He also received a best picture nomination as a producer of An Unmarried Woman.

Although he worked primarily in film, Mazursky also directed the TV movies Winchell and Coast to Coast.

In addition to writing and directing, he continued to act, often taking small roles in his own projects as well as those by other filmmakers — including A Star Is Born, Punchline and Carlito's Way.

In the mid-1990s he began acting for television more frequently, beginning with an episode of Frasier in 1995. He also appeared in such made-for-TV movies as Weapons of Mass Destruction and A Slight Case of Murder, and earned praise for his turn as Sela Ward's father in the drama series Once and Again, followed by recurring roles in The Sopranos and Curb Your Your Enthusiasm.

In 1999 he published a memoir, Show Me the Magic.

Mazursky died June 30, 2014, in Los Angeles. He was 84.

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Awards & Nominations

2 Nominations

The Television Academy database lists prime-time Emmy information. Click here to learn more

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