Paul Mazursky was a filmmaker who made his reputation in the 1970s with timely movies about marriage and relationships, from Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) to An Unmarried Woman (1978). The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, he grew up in Brooklyn and got into acting while attending Brooklyn College. During the 1950s he studied Method Acting with Lee Strasberg, performed as a stand-up comedian and got acting jobs on stage and in New York television. He moved to Los Angeles in 1959, where he took film classes and partnered with comedy writer Larry Tucker. While getting work as a TV actor, Mazursky wrote for The Danny Kaye Show (he was nominated for an Emmy in 1963). He and Tucker made an impression with their 1968 screenplay for the Peter Sellers comedy I Love You Alice B. Toklas, and Mazursky was allowed to direct his next script, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a satire about free love and modern America that became a box office hit. During his filmmaking career, Mazursky made mostly comedies, usually from his own scripts. He won Oscar nominations for writing Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Harry and Tonto (1974, starring Art Carney), An Unmarried Woman (1978, the film was also nominated for best picture) and Enemies: A Love Story (1989), and had success at the box office with the comedies Moscow on the Hudson (1984, starring Robin Williams) and Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986, starring Nick Nolte).
Paul Mazursky appeared many times in cameo roles in his movies. He also appeared in small roles in other films, including Carlito’s Way (1993) and Antz (1998). In recent years, he could be seen on TV in The Sopranos, Once and Again and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
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