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Sidney Lumet

A Life

Maura Spiegel

St. Martin's Press

Sidney Lumet Download image

ISBN10: 1250030153
ISBN13: 9781250030153


416 Pages



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Acclaimed as the ultimate New York movie director, Sidney Lumet began his astonishing five-decades-long directing career with the now classic 12 Angry Men, followed by such landmark films as Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, and Network. His remarkably varied output included award-winning adaptations of plays by Anton Chekhov, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and Eugene O’Neill, whose Long Day’s Journey into Night featured Katharine Hepburn and Ralph Richardson in their most devastating performances.

Renowned as an “actor’s director,” Lumet attracted an unmatched roster of stars, among them: Henry Fonda, Sophia Loren, Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Ethan Hawke, and Philip-Seymour Hoffman, accruing eighteen Oscar nods for his actors along the way.

With the help of exclusive interviews with family, colleagues, and friends, author Maura Spiegel provides a vibrant portrait of the life and work of this extraordinary director whose influence is felt through generations, and takes us inside the Federal Theater, the Group Theatre, the Actors Studio, and the early “golden age” of television.

From his surprising personal life, with four marriages to remarkable women—all of whom opened their living rooms to Lumet’s world of artists and performers like Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson—to the world of Yiddish theater and Broadway spectacles, Sidney Lumet: A Life is a book that anyone interested in American film of the twentieth century will not want to miss.


Praise for Sidney Lumet

"A likely definitive exploration of the director's distinguished career—of great interest to budding filmmakers and film enthusiasts."Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Spiegel does a yeoman's job of telling those stories in this illuminating biography . . . Essential reading for movie fans."Booklist

"An insightful biography, perfect for film buffs."Library Journal

"This revealing and entertaining biography provides a sensitive look at one of Hollywood’s most humanistic and socially aware filmmakers."Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt



Baruch Lumet … makes a full-blooded character of a familiar type, though he tends to overact discreetly … and Sidney Lumet as an alert and warm-hearted youngster is all of that and charming.


About the author

Maura Spiegel

Maura Spiegel is a born and bred New Yorker, and has been teaching literature and film at Columbia University for over two decades. She is co-director of the Division of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she teaches film to first year medical students. She has published articles on many subjects including the history of the emotions, Charles Dickens, Victorian fashion and film, and diamonds in the movies.

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Maura Spiegel