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Robert Mulligan

Director
( b. Aug 23, 1925 Bronx, New York, USA - d. Dec 20, 2008 Lyme, Connecticut, USA ) Male
Robert Mulligan, a Hollywood director best known for the 1962 classic film “To Kill a Mockingbird,” died at his at the age of 83. The cause was heart disease.

Mr. Mulligan received an Academy Award nomination for the film, based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about rape, racism and injustice in the Depression-era South. Gregory Peck won an Oscar for his portrayal of Atticus Finch, the Alabama lawyer who defends a black man (played by Brock Peters) falsely accused of raping a white woman. The film also won Oscars for its screenplay, by Horton Foote, and for art direction.

Mr. Mulligan’s other notable films include “Summer of ’42” (1971), about an affair between a youth and an older woman; “Up the Down Staircase” (1967), from Bel Kaufman’s novel about a New York City schoolteacher; and “Inside Daisy Clover” (1965), from Gavin Lambert’s novel about the out-of-control life of a young film star. His last film was “The Man in the Moon” (1991), a coming-of-age story set in 1950s Louisiana.

If some critics took Mr. Mulligan to task for lacking a strong or consistent directorial vision, others praised his narrative ability and his fealty to the source material of his films. He was also known as a fine director of actors, including Natalie Wood in “Inside Daisy Clover”; Tony Curtis in “The Great Impostor” (1961), based on the life of the pathological impostor Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr.; and Robert Duvall in his first film role as the strange, reclusive neighbor Boo Radley in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Robert Patrick Mulligan was born in the Bronx on Aug. 23, 1925. After Navy service in World War II, he worked briefly as a clerk in the telegraph office of The New York Times before earning a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in 1948. A job as a messenger with CBS led to television directing; his early TV credits include “The Philco Television Playhouse,” “Studio One” and “Playhouse 90.”

Mr. Mulligan won an Emmy Award for the television film “The Moon and Sixpence,” broadcast on NBC in 1959. It starred Laurence Olivier in an Emmy-winning performance as a middle-aged businessman who leaves his family to pursue a career as an artist.

Mr. Mulligan directed his first big-screen film, “Fear Strikes Out,” in 1957. Produced by Mr. Pakula, it starred a young Anthony Perkins as the major-league baseball player Jimmy Piersall; it was based on Mr. Piersall’s memoir of his struggle with mental illness.

On Broadway, Mr. Mulligan directed Ms. Hagen and George C. Scott in the drama “Comes a Day,” which ran for 28 performances in 1958. The play, Mr. Mulligan’s only Broadway production, was based on a short story by the Southern writer Speed Lamkin.

In interviews over the years, Robert Mulligan was often asked how a boy from the Bronx developed such an affinity for films with small-town Southern settings. The answer, he said, lay in the shared passion of both places for spinning fabulous yarns. As he told The Boston Herald in 1991: “Coming from Bronx Irish is hardly Southern. But there was that sense of the Irish storytellers, the fairy tales.”

source: NY Times obit



Productions Date of Productions
Comes a Day
[Play, Drama, Original]
  • Staged by Robert Mulligan
Nov 06, 1958 - Nov 29, 1958
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