What was Sydney Pollack’s Net Worth?
Sydney Pollack was an American film director, producer and actor who had a net worth of $18 million at the time of his death. Sydney Pollack was known for directing such acclaimed films as “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?,” “Tootsie,” “The Firm,” and “Out of Africa,” the lattermost of which won him the Academy Award for Best Director. Among his other directing credits are “The Way We Were,” “Absence of Malice,” and “The Firm.” As an actor, Pollack had notable roles in such films as “Husbands and Wives” and “Eyes Wide Shut.” Pollack died on May 26, 2008 at his home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California of stomach cancer surrounded by his family.
Early Life and Education
Sydney Pollack was born on July 1, 1934 in Lafayette, Indiana to Russian-Jewish immigrants David and Rebecca. His parents divorced when he was a child, after which he moved with his mother to South Bend. Pollack’s mother, who struggled with alcoholism and her mental health, passed away when Pollack was a teenager. After graduating from high school, Pollack moved to New York City, where he studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.
From 1956 to 1958, Pollack served in the US Army. He then returned to the Neighborhood Playhouse to become an assistant to his acting teacher Sanford Meisner. In 1960, Pollack was invited by his friend John Frankenheimer to come to Los Angeles to work as a dialogue coach for the child actors in Frankenheimer’s film “The Young Savages.” While working in that position, Pollack met actor Burt Lancaster, who urged him to try his hand at directing. He did just that, and found success directing episodes of such television shows as “The Fugitive,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,” and “Ben Casey.”
Film Directing, Part 1
Pollack made the transition to film directing in 1965 with his feature-length film debut, “The Slender Thread,” starring Anne Bancroft and Sidney Poitier. His second film as director was 1966’s “This Property is Condemned,” starring Natalie Wood and Robert Redford. Pollack followed that with two films starring Burt Lancaster: the Western “The Scalphunters” and the war film “Castle Keep.” His next film was his most acclaimed yet: the 1969 psychological drama “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?,” starring Jane Fonda. Focused on a group of people competing to win a Depression-era dance marathon, the film earned nine Academy Award nominations, including Pollack’s first for Best Director. Pollack had further hits in the 70s with “Jeremiah Johnson,” “The Way We Were,” “Three Days of the Condor,” and “The Electric Horseman,” all starring Robert Redford. Also that decade, he directed Robert Mitchum in “The Yakuza” and Al Pacino in “Bobby Deerfield.”
Pollack’s first film as a director in the 80s was the 1981 neo-noir “Absence of Malice,” starring Paul Newman and Sally Field. The following year saw the biggest commercial hit of his career: the romantic comedy “Tootsie,” starring Dustin Hoffman as a prickly actor who assumes the identity of a woman in order to land a job. Becoming the second-highest grossing film of 1982, the film received ten Academy Award nominations, with Pollack earning his second for Best Director. He finally won Best Director with his next film, the 1985 epic romantic drama “Out of Africa.” Starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, the film also claimed the Best Picture trophy.
Film Directing, Part 2
Pollack began the 90s reuniting with Redford for “Havana,” a drama set on the eve of the Cuban Revolution. He subsequently directed the legal thriller “The Firm,” based on the eponymous John Grisham novel and starring Tom Cruise. Released in 1993, the film was a commercial smash. Much less successful was Pollack’s 1995 “Sabrina,” a remake of the classic Billy Wilder film starring Harrison Ford. Pollack teamed up with Ford again for the 1999 drama “Random Hearts,” based on the novel by Warren Adler.
Pollack directed far less frequently in the 21st century, with only two directing credits to his name, both for 2005 films. The first was the political thriller “The Interpreter,” starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. Pollack’s other 2005 film was the documentary “Sketches of Frank Gehry,” about the life and career of the titular architect. Although those were his final two directing credits, footage that was shot under his direction could be seen in the 2018 concert film “Amazing Grace,” starring Aretha Franklin. Pollack received a special thanks for that film.
As an actor, Pollack appeared on both film and television. In the 50s, he was in episodes of such shows as “The Kaiser Aluminum Hour,” “Playhouse 90,” “Startime,” and “Brenner.” Pollack’s television credits in the 60s included “The Twilight Zone,” “Have Gun – Will Travel,” “The Deputy,” and “The New Breed.” Meanwhile, he made his film acting debut in the 1962 film “War Hunt.” He didn’t act much in the 70s or 80s, only appearing in a supporting role in his 1982 film “Tootsie.” Pollack was more prolific as an actor in the 90s, with memorable roles in such films as Robert Altman’s “The Player,” Woody Allen’s “Husbands and Wives,” and Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut.”
Beginning the new millennium, Pollack appeared on the television sitcom “Will & Grace,” playing the father of Will. In 2002, he had a supporting role in the film “Changing Lanes.” Pollack went on to appear in the films “Fauteuils d’orchestre” and “Michael Clayton” later in the decade; he also made a guest appearance on the HBO television series “The Sopranos.” His final acting role was in the 2008 romcom “Made of Honor.”
Pollack produced a number of films during his career, including “Songwriter,” “Bright Lights, Big City,” “Presumed Innocent,” “Sliding Doors,” and “Cold Mountain.” For his final two films as a producer – 2007’s “Michael Clayton” and 2008’s “The Reader,” both Best Picture Oscar nominees – he earned Academy Award nominations.
Personal Life and Death
In 1958, Pollack wed his former student Claire Griswold. Together, they had three children named Steven, Rebecca, and Rachel. The couple remained together for 50 years until Pollack’s passing from cancer in 2008.
In June 2011, several months after his widow Claire’s death, the longtime Pollack family home was put on the market for $7.9 million. Located in LA’s Pacific Palisades neighborhood, Sydney and Claire bought the 1-acre property in 1985 for $1.8 million. The property’s mansion, which was built in the 1940s, was designed by famed architect Wallace Neff. Claire Pollack, who studied and earned a degree in architecture, planned and orchestrated a number of renovations and expansion the home. Less than two months after being listed, the home sold for $7.694 million.