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Roger L. Simon

In Memoriam—Paul Mazursky

July 1st, 2014 - 8:45 am

paul-mazursky-08

I am on a plane to Seattle and minutes ago fired up the in-flight Internet to write some observations about Dinesh D’Souza’s America, which I saw last night, when I received word via email that one of my closest friends and mentor — the great writer/director Paul Mazursky – had died, probably when I was driving to the Burbank airport. Dinesh will have to wait.

There are tears in my eyes as I write this because no man had as great a professional effect on me — a professional effect that was deeply personal as well, because collaborating with Paul, as I did on several screenplays, was always an adventure of the most intimate sort, sharing endless stories and emotions that would go into our scripts.

I had seen Paul only yesterday in his hospital bed at Cedars Sinai. (I am grateful to our mutual friend David Freeman for informing me he was there.) He did not look good and I wondered if he would ever get out. I tried to engage him in conversation. It was difficult. Paul, normally the most garrulous of men, could barely talk. But we chatted a bit about Enemies, A Love Story – the most successful movie we co-wrote and he directed — and he reminded me that Isaac Singer, the author of the novel, had liked the film. We also talked of the trip we took together with some friends, trekking in the Himalayas to get as far as we could from the premiere of Scenes from a Mall, a less successful effort.

Paul, of course, made over a dozen fine movies, including Next Stop Greenwich Village, Harry and Tonto, and Down and Out in Beverly Hills. We all have our favorites. But at a time like this I choose to remember Paul the man, not the auteur who has been called, reductively I think, the “West Coast Woody Allen.”

All Comments   (18)
All Comments   (18)
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3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was particularly fond of Blume In Love, which few others seem to remember. Mr. Mazursky was, yes, I guess the West Coast Woody Allen but a much warmer and more accessible one. Cheers, Mr. Simon, and thanks for all. Herb Slojewski
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
My condolences. Would add that a good chunk of the media community sees you as you saw Mazursky.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah sad to hear this. I was always a fan. Let's not forget 'An Unmarried Woman' with the wonderful Jill Clayburgh, which perhaps is my favourite of his.

Yeah Moscow on the Hudson, and what about Down and Out in Beverly Hills? Still very funny, hold up well.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry for your loss Roger.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
My sincere condolences Roger. It is sad to learn of the passing of such a talented man. It is sadder to learn that his passing also means that you have lost a friend. We are all better off that your friend was here for a while and shared so much with us. He and all of his family and friends are in my prayers.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
My condolences. What a kind man. What wonderful films. Down and out in Beverly Hills my favorite.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a fine, heartfelt piece. My condolences on the death of your friend.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
I love Moscow On The Hudson. It was so much more than a comedy. I've always thought that it was the filmmaker's expression of his love of the U.S.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
rip
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
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