Pakula, Alan Jay

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PAKULA, ALAN JAY (1928–1998), U.S. director, producer, and screenwriter. The son of a Polish immigrant, Pakula grew up in the Bronx and was a 1948 Yale graduate. Instead of taking over the family printing business, Pakula moved to Hollywood. In the early 1950s, he worked at Warner Brothers, mgm, and Paramount Pictures before collaborating with director Robert Mulligan in 1957 to produce his first film, Fear Strikes Out. The two formed Pakula-Mulligan Productions, which produced numerous films from 1957 to 1969. One of their greatest successes was an adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), which was nominated for best picture. Other Pakula-Mulligan films were Love with a Proper Stranger (1963), Inside Daisy Clover (1966), Up the Down Staircase (1967), and The Stalking Moon (1968). Pakula married actress Hope Lange in 1963, but the two divorced in 1969. Pakula made his directorial debut in 1969 with The Sterile Cuckoo. The thriller-suspense movie Klute (1971), which Pakula directed and co-produced, was the first of what is known as his "paranoia trilogy." The Parallax View (1974) was the second installment, followed by All the President's Men (1976), the movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the Washington Post reporters who helped uncover the Watergate scandal. It was the top-grossing film of the year, won four Oscars, and earned Pakula a nomination for best director. In 1982, Pakula directed, wrote, and co-produced Sophie's Choice, a film about a Holocaust survivor. Pakula's screenplay was nominated for best adaptation. Pakula's first original screenplay, See You in the Morning (1989), about a man who marries a widow with stepchildren, was based on his life; in 1973 Pakula married widow Hannah Cohn Boorstin, who had three children. The Pelican Brief (1993) was Pakula's biggest box-office hit. His last film was The Devil's Own (1997). Pakula died in a car accident.

[Susannah Howland (2nd ed.)]