Sydney Pollack

Equally adept as an actor, director and producer, Sydney Pollack adds a degree of gravitas to any film he touches. Born July 1, 1934, in Lafayette, La., Pollack studied with the legendary Sanford Meisner at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse and briefly served as an acting coach.

In 1962, while working on the film War Hunt, Pollack befriended a young actor making his debut in the movie: Robert Redford. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that would see them collaborate on seven films, including Out of Africa (1985), for which Pollack took home a Best Director Oscar.

The list of films Pollack has worked on is dizzying. A partial accounting includes The Way We Were, Three Days of the Condor, The Electric Horseman, Absence of Malice, The Firm and the Academy Award-nominated films They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Tootsie and Michael Clayton. Pollack died May 26, 2008, from stomach cancer.