Sidney Lumet, the director of such film classics as 12 Angry Men, Network and Serpico, lost his battle with lymphoma Saturday morning in New York City. He was 86.
"While the goal of all movies is to entertain," the film veteran once said, "the kind of film in which I believe goes one step further. It compels the spectator to examine one facet or another of his own conscience. It stimulates thought and sets the mental juices flowing."
Among Lumet's critical successes was 1976's Network, starring William Holden, Faye Dunaway and Peter Finch. The classic — which included the catchphrase "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" — earned Lumet 10 Academy Award nominations, including best film and best director.
Despite his films having drawn an astonishing 40 Oscar nominations, Lumet himself never took home a trophy — a fact the director, famous for bringing New York cityscapes to life onscreen, didn't take lightly.
"I wanted one, damn it, and I felt I deserved one," Lumet said in a 2007 interview videotaped to accompany his New York Times obituary. Two years earlier, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Lumet with an honorary statue, which New York Times writer Manohla Dargis declared a "consolation prize for a lifetime of neglect."
Though Lumet's first three marriages — to actress Rita Gam, Gloria Vanderbilt and Lena Horne's daughter Gail Jones — ended in divorce, the director's fourth wife, Mary Gimbel, survives him. The director is also survived by two daughters, a stepdaughter and stepson, nine grandchildren and a great grandson.
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