Monday, December 22, 2008

R.I.P., Robert Mulligan

Faithful online chum and TDOY commenter Pam sent me an e-mail this morning with the news that veteran director Robert Mulligan passed away Saturday at his Connecticut home, at the age of 83.

Among Mulligan’s best-known films were To Kill a Mockingbird (1962; which garnered him an Oscar nom as Best Director the following year), Love With the Proper Stranger (1963), Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965), Up the Down Staircase (1967), Summer of ’42 (1971) and Same Time, Next Year (1978). Another movie helmed by Mulligan that I enjoyed (that for some reason I haven’t spotted on any of the cable channels in quite a while) was 1971’s The Pursuit of Happiness (not to be confused with the Will Smith movie, which is spelled differently), in which a college malcontent played by Michael Sarrazin is sent to prison mostly because he can’t keep his big bazoo shut.

Mulligan honed his directorial chops in the era known as The Golden Age of Television, where he worked for dramatic anthology shows like Playhouse 90, Studio One, The Philco Television Playhouse and the television version of “radio’s outstanding theatre of thrills,” Suspense. It was Mulligan who directed the Studio One episode The Defender, which later became the pilot for the critically-acclaimed CBS-TV legal drama starring E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed from 1961-65.

R.I.P., Robert. You will be missed…and say hi to brother Richard when you get there.

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