Paul Mazursky 1930-2014

Talented actor/writer/director dies aged 84

Paul Mazursky 1930-2014

by James White |
Published on

His name might not be feted to the level of contemporaries such as Martin Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola, but Paul Mazursky lived a life and career well worth celebrating. He has died at the age of 84.

Born Irwin Mazursky in Brooklyn, Mazursky studied at Brooklyn College and kicked off his career in front of the camera rather than behind it. His first acting job – on which he changed his name – was quite a launch pad for a young performer, working with the meticulous Stanley Kubrick on Fear And Desire in 1953. In 1955, he played Emmanuel Stoker in** Blackboard Jungle**, before switching for a few years to write and perform on television. After working on series such as The Twilight Zone, The Detectives and The Untouchables, he was hired to script and act on The Danny Kaye show.

It was the small screen that birthed one of Mazursky’s enduring legacies, because he’s the man who developed the Monkees TV show. Film-wise, he enjoyed peeling back the layers of civilised society and poking at relationships with work such as I Love You, Alice B. Tokias!, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (which was nominated for four Oscars),** Alex In Wonderland **and Tempest.

His acting career was in no way diminished by his switch to writing and directing, though, and he continued to make memorable appearances not only in his own films, but also in others including Punchline, Carlito’s Way and Into The Night. He’s survived by his wife, Betsy Purdy and his daughter, Jill.

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