Sydney Pollack, the director, producer and actor whose 1985 drama Out of Africa earned him that year's Best Picture and Director Oscars, died today at his home in Pacific Palisades. He was 73. He had suffered from cancer for more than a year, completing his final film — the documentary Sketches of Frank Gehry — in 2005. Pollack worked at the helm of benchmarks in three decades including They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (for which he earned his first Oscar nomination), The Way We Were, Three Days of the Condor and Tootsie. He found his most significant acclaim after directing Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in Out of Africa, going on to work with Tom Cruise (The Firm), Harrison Ford (Sabrina, Random Hearts) and Nicole Kidman (The Interpreter) in the years that followed.
Pollack was an even more prolific producer, sharing credits on nearly four dozen titles including last year's Best Picture nominee Michael Clayton — in which he also acted opposite George Clooney. His other acting credits include Husbands and Wives, Eyes Wide Shut, and most recently, Made of Honor. Pollack was a partner of the late Anthony Minghella in Mirage Productions, which pushed virtually all of the directors' respective projects over the last 10 years as well as the upcoming Kate Winslet film The Reader; it remains to be seen what will happen with Mirage's first-look deal with The Weinstein Company and other projects in development.