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Mark Rydell (Director and Producer) is an Academy Award-nominated director, a classically trained actor, and an accomplished jazz pianist.
As a film director, Rydell immerses himself in every stage of the filmmaking process. From the beginning stages of script development to the final touches of post production. Markís commitment to the craft of filmmaking is evidenced by the twenty-six Oscar nominations garnered by his films. Mark is especially known for his rapport with actors and his ability to cultivate strong, sensitive, colorful performances. Bette Midler, Marsha Mason, Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn and Sissy Spacek have all received Oscar nominations under his direction as well as Golden Globe nominations for both Stephen Rea and Isabella Rossellini.
Mark was born and raised in the Bronx, New York . After graduating from high-school, Mark entered the Army and spent two years in Far East Japan developing entertainment for military personnel. After his discharge, Mark began studies at the University of Chicago and the Chicago Musical College . Mark went on to major in English and philosophy at New York University and study at the Juilliard School of Music.
Mark made his showbiz debut as a jazz pianist and worked the nightclubs of both New York and Chicago . He turned to acting when he won a scholarship to Sanford Meisnerís renowned Neighborhood Playhouse. He then went on to join the Actors Studio and is still an active member. Mark acted in numerous live television shows before landing a continuing role in the CBS daytime drama AS THE WORLD TURNS. He made his Broadway debut in SEAGULLS OVER SORRENTO with Rod Steiger, and had his feature film debut with John Cassavetes and Sal Mineo in Don Siegelís 1956 youth gang drama CRIME IN THE STREETS. Although Mark ultimately changed his focus to directing, he has continued to make memorable cameo appearances such as Marty Augustine, the sadistic hoodlum in Robert Altmanís THE LONG GOODBYE (1973), and Romeo, the sleazy nightclub owner in David Seltzerís PUNCHLINE (1988) and the mobster, Meyer Lansky, in Sidney Pollackís HAVANA (1990). He also co-starred as Jack Warner in JAMES DEAN (2001) which he produced and directed. His most recent co-starring role was as Al Hack in Woody Allenís HOLLYWOOD ENDING (2002).
Mark began his work as a director on the BEN CASEY series. He directed the first episode of I SPY, starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp and went on to direct more than fifty episodes of dramatic television including an award winning episode of GUNSMOKE.
Mark made his directing debut in feature films with THE FOX starring Sandy Dennis, Anne Heywood and Keir Dullea. Based on the D.H. Lawrence novella, THE FOX won the Golden Globe Award for Best English Language Foreign Film. For his second film, Mark seized the opportunity to work with Steve McQueen in bringing William Faulknerís final novel THE RIEVERS (1969) to the screen. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Film Score by John Williams.
In 1971 Mark and a partner formed their own production company, Sanford Productions, which went on to produce such films as JEREMIAH JOHNSON (1972), starring Robert Redford, and SCARECROW (1973) starring Al Pacino and Gene Hackman. SCARECROW won the Cannes Film Festivalís top honor Ė The Palme DíOr.
Mark himself produced and directed THE COWBOYS (1972), starring John Wayne.
CINDERELLA LIBERTY (1973) starring James Caan and Marsha Mason, who was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress, and HARRY AND WALTER GO TO NEW YORK (1976) starring Elliott Gould, James Caan, Michael Caine and Diane Keaton.
In 1979 Mark introduced Bette Midler to moviegoers in THE ROSE. Her powerful performance as a declining rock singer brought her an Oscar nomination as Best Actress and a nomination for Freddie Forrest as Best Supporting Actor.
Mark continued to garner critical and popular acclaim with his next film, ON GOLDEN POND (1981), starring Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn and Jane Fonda. This film, about a family rediscovering their love for one another, received ten Oscar nominations including one for Mark as Best Director. The film won Oscars for Henry Fonda (his first), Katherine Hepburn, and writer Ernest Thompson.
Markís next film was THE RIVER (1984) starring Sissy Spacek and Mel Gibson as a farming family struggling to save their land. The picture received five Oscar nominations.
Markís reputation as an ďactorís directorĒ brought together two stars, both of whom received previous critical acclaim under Markís direction, in FOR THE BOYS (1991) starring Bette Midler and James Caan as a song and dance team who entertained American troops through half a century. Once again Midler received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
Mark went on to direct INTERSECTION (1993) starring Richard Gere, Sharon Stone and Lolita Davidovich; and CRIME OF THE CENTURY (1996) for HBO starring Stephen Rea and Isabella Rossellini, which earned five Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor. Mark recently directed and produced TNTís critically acclaimed JAMES DEAN (2001). He played the role of studio mogul Jack Warner in the film. He was recently nominated for a Directors Guild Award for his work on the project. James Franco won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance as Dean. JAMES DEAN (2001) also received 11 Emmy nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. Mark has a co-starring role in the Woody Allen comedy HOLLYWOOD ENDING released by DreamWorks Pictures.
In addition to his production activities, Mark is a Board Member of the Actors Studio and an Artistic Director of the Actors Studio West. Mark shares from his filmmaking experience at universities and seminars all over the country.
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