Hill, George Roy 1921-2002

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HILL, George Roy 1921-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born December 20, 1921, in Minneapolis, MN; died December 27, 2002, in New York, NY. Film director and author. Hill was an Academy Award-winning director who was well known for films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The World according to Garp. Hill's first interest in life was not film but music, and he studied piano at Yale University, where he earned a music degree in 1942. After graduating from Yale he joined the U.S. Navy, where he trained as a pilot before transferring to the Marines and flying transport planes during World War II. When the war ended Hill returned to school, this time studying literature in Ireland at Trinity College, Dublin, where he earned a B.Litt. in 1949. Having studied acting at both Yale and Trinity, Hill found work as an actor in New York City and for a time toured with Margaret Webster's Shakespearean company. With the onset of the Korean War he was called back to active duty, this time flying jet planes for the Marines for a year and a half. During this time he decided he no longer wished to act; after returning to the United States he embarked upon a new career writing scripts and directing dramas for televisions Playhouse 90. He also directed several plays on Broadway, including Look Homeward, Angel (1957), which won a Drama Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize, The Gang's All Here (1960), and Henry, Sweet Henry (1967). Hill would later credit his television directing experience with giving him the best education he could have had for directing films. His career as a film director began in the early 1960s with films such as Hawaii (1966) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), but his first big hit was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), the film that made Robert Redford a star and was also notable for the score by Burt Bacharach. In the wake of an era in film history during which directors often focused on making artistic statements, Hill's light-comedic touch and emphasis on character and story appealed to audiences, although critics sometimes panned his movies. Hill earned an Oscar nomination for Butch Cassidy, and won the coveted award for The Sting (1973), which also starred Redford. Other notable films directed by Hill during the 1970s and early 1980s include Slaughterhouse-Five (1972), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), and The World according to Garp (1981). The last film he directed was Funny Farm (1988). In addition to his Oscar wins, Hill was the recipient of three Emmy awards, a Christopher award, and an Antoinette Perry ("Tony") award nomination.



International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 2: Directors, third edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1997.


Chicago Tribune, December 28, 2002, section 2, p. 11.

Los Angeles Times, December 28, 2002, p. B18.

New York Times, December 28, 2002, p. A36.

Washington Post, December 28, 2002, p. B7.