Robert Altman Dies

Director dead at 81

Robert Altman, Hollywood legend and maverick director of films like MASH and Short Cuts, died in Los Angeles on Monday night. He was 81 years old.

Altman was born in 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, and served in the Air Force in World War II, before beginning his career in film. He briefly tried acting, appearing in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in 1947, as well as songwriting and screenwriting, but it was as a director that he made his career.

Making his name with MASH, he followed it up with a series of ensemble pieces characterised by overlapping dialogue and an improvised feel. Films like McCabe and Mrs Miller, The Player, Short Cuts and Gosford Park established his skill in working with and reinventing different genres, and he received an honorary Award at the Oscars in 2006.

He died in a Los Angeles hospital last night, but the cause of death has not yet been disclosed. He is survived by his wife Kathryn and five children. Robert Altman, RIP.