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Alan Pakula


Alan Pakula

Alan J. Pakula
Pakula in Sweden, 1990.
Born (1928-04-07)April 7, 1928
The Bronx, New York, USA
Died November 19, 1998(1998-11-19) (aged 70)
Melville, New York, USA
Spouse(s) Hope Lange (1963–1971)
Hannah Cohn Boorstin (1973–1998)

Alan Jay Pakula (April 7, 1928 – November 19, 1998) was an American film director, writer and producer.


Pakula started his Hollywood career as an assistant in the cartoon department at Warner Brothers. In 1957, he undertook his first production role for Paramount Pictures. In 1962, he produced To Kill a Mockingbird, for which he was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award. Pakula had a successful professional relationship as the producer of movies directed by Robert Mulligan from 1957 to 1968. In 1969, he directed his first feature, The Sterile Cuckoo, starring Liza Minnelli.[1]

In 1971, Pakula released the first installment of what would informally come to be known as his "paranoia trilogy". Klute, the story of a relationship between a private eye (played by Donald Sutherland) and a call girl (played by Jane Fonda, who won an Oscar for her performance), was a commercial and critical success. This was followed in 1974 by The Parallax View starring Warren Beatty, a labyrinthine post-Watergate thriller involving political assassinations. The film has been noted for its experimental use of hypnotic imagery in a celebrated film-within-a-film sequence in which the protagonist is inducted into the Parallax Corporation, whose main, albeit non-ostensible, enterprise is domestic terrorism.

Finally, in 1976, Pakula rounded out the "trilogy" with All the President's Men, based on the bestselling account of the Watergate scandal written by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who were played in the movie by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. It was another commercial hit, considered by many critics and fans to be one of the best thrillers of the 1970s.[2]

Pakula scored another hit in 1982 with Sophie's Choice, starring Meryl Streep. His screenplay, based on the novel by William Styron, was nominated for an Academy Award. Later commercial successes included Presumed Innocent, based on the bestselling novel by Scott Turow, and another political thriller, The Pelican Brief, an adaptation of John Grisham's bestseller. His final film was the crime drama thriller film The Devil's Own, where he reunited with Harrison Ford.

Personal life

Pakula was born in The Bronx, New York to parents of Polish Jewish descent, Jeanette (née Goldstein) and Paul Pakula.[3] He was educated at The Hill School, Pottstown, PA and Yale University, where he majored in drama. From October 19, 1963 until 1971, Pakula was married to actress Hope Lange. He was married to his second wife, Hannah Cohn Boorstin, from 1973 until his death in 1998.


Pakula died on November 19, 1998 in a freak car accident on the Long Island Expressway in Melville, New York. He was 70 years old. A driver in front of him struck a metal pipe, which went through Pakula's windshield, struck him in the head, and caused him to swerve off the road and into a fence. He was killed instantly.[4]


Year Title Notes
1957 Fear Strikes Out Producer
1962 To Kill a Mockingbird Producer
1963 Love with the Proper Stranger Producer
1965 Baby the Rain Must Fall Producer
Inside Daisy Clover Producer
1967 Up the Down Staircase Producer
1968 The Stalking Moon Producer
1969 The Sterile Cuckoo Director, producer
1971 Klute Director, producer
1973 Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing Director, producer
1974 The Parallax View Director, producer
1976 All the President's Men Director
1978 Comes a Horseman Director
1979 Starting Over Director, producer
1981 Rollover Director
1982 Sophie's Choice Director, producer, writer
1986 Dream Lover Director, producer
1987 Orphans Director, producer
1989 See You in the Morning Director, producer, writer
1990 Presumed Innocent Director, writer
1992 Consenting Adults Director, producer
1993 The Pelican Brief Director, producer, writer
1997 The Devil's Own Director


External links

Biography portal
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Daily Telegraph obituary
  • American Film Institute interview
  • "The Pakula Parallax" essay

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