Robert Altman, RIP

Nuts. Robert Altman has passed away. I interviewed him once when I was full-time movie critic, and I’m here to tell you he’s probably one of the smartest people I ever interviewed in the film industry, as well as disarmingly practical and modest about what he was doing with his films and his life. He was 81, so you can’t exactly say he was taken too soon. You can say that the film industry is not likely to see a director like him again.

For those of you who don’t know too much about him, a Wikipedia article. He’d be remembered for M*A*S*H* alone; that there was also McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Nashville, The Player and Gosford Park (among many others) is a hell of a bonus.

29 thoughts on “Robert Altman, RIP

  1. From all the interviews I ever saw with Altman, he impressed as one of those people I’d like to emulate when I (notionally) grow up: level-headed, self-deprecating, generous, and constantly seeking to do something new with his work. I was especially impressed by his Oscar speech, when he thanked the nameless young woman whose heart was transplanted into him years ago.

  2. Oh, fuck.

    I love Altman. Shit.

    I’m gonna go get A Priarie Home Companion now and cry.

    “The Player” was such a big film for me as was “Short Cuts.” Both came out when I was in college and for various reasons impacted me immensely.

    Also his film version of “O.C. & Stiggs” was critical in my youth. I think I can recite it word for word.

    Oh, this is soo sad.

    Thank You, Mr. Altman.

  3. I saw that this morning…That’s too bad. I’m sorry he’s gone.

    I love M*A*S*H and not just because Donald Sutherland was grade-A yumminess as Hawkeye.

    I wanted to see the Prairie Home Companion, but somehow missed its theatrical run.

  4. Not a good week.

    In the last seven days we have had the deaths of:

    Ference Puskas*
    Milton Friedman
    Bo Schembechler
    Robert Altman

    While very different folks, these were giants in their respective fields. I mourn each of them in their own ways.

    Cheers
    Andrew

    *For the non-soccer viewing folks, Ferenc Puskas was the great hungarian/spanish footballer who lead the Hungarian national team to the finals of the 1954 world cup. He also scored 4 goals for Real Madrid in the 1960 European Cup final.

  5. Not a good week.

    In the last seven days we have had the deaths of:

    Ference Puskas*
    Milton Friedman
    Bo Schembechler
    Robert Altman

    While very different folks, these were giants in their respective fields. I mourn each of them in their own ways.

    Cheers
    Andrew

    *For the non-soccer viewing folks, Ferenc Puskas was the great hungarian/spanish footballer who lead the Hungarian national team to the finals of the 1954 world cup. He also scored 4 goals for Real Madrid in the 1960 European Cup final.

  6. In interviews, Altman always struck me as knowing exactly where he stood in his career, outsider-status and all. Prairie Home Companion had the sort of elegiac tone you’d expect from a fellow who knew he was reaching the end of his time. Almost like he knew.

  7. In interviews, Altman always struck me as knowing exactly where he stood in his career, outsider-status and all. Prairie Home Companion had the sort of elegiac tone you’d expect from a fellow who knew he was reaching the end of his time. Almost like he knew.

  8. Well, he was 81. I don’t think he was under any illusions that he’d last for decades. Even so, it’s sad.

  9. Well, he was 81. I don’t think he was under any illusions that he’d last for decades. Even so, it’s sad.

  10. ‘Bob’ (as the cool LA kids call him) took great joy in playing ‘the maverick’ but was about as inside as you can get.

    I never had the pleasure of working with him, but have many friends that did. And across the board, he was known as a good guy. That in itself is somewhat of a maverick trait given the egomaniacal traits of directors that demand (and receive) final cut.

  11. Ron over at GalleyCat discusses the book deal that Altman made with Jonathan Karp’s new imprint just last month. Now that would’ve been a memoir worth reading.

  12. Ron over at GalleyCat discusses the book deal that Altman made with Jonathan Karp’s new imprint just last month. Now that would’ve been a memoir worth reading.

  13. This mourning thing is getting a bit much.

    My Altman favourite is McCabe & Mrs Miller, for exactly the reasons why it wasn’t a great commercial success.

    Damn, we can’t afford to keep losing people like him.

  14. This mourning thing is getting a bit much.

    My Altman favourite is McCabe & Mrs Miller, for exactly the reasons why it wasn’t a great commercial success.

    Damn, we can’t afford to keep losing people like him.

  15. Had to check the Altman story you did way back in 1992 for “The Player.” Nice job. Altman was always a favorite interview for movie critics.

  16. Had to check the Altman story you did way back in 1992 for “The Player.” Nice job. Altman was always a favorite interview for movie critics.

  17. For everyone else, Tom Becker here was my editor at the Fresno Bee back when I was writing movie reviews. And also, since he was my first real pro editor, he had to put up with a lot of my juvenile crap. Basically, I owe him big.

  18. Whereas Renny Harlin (Exorcist: The Beginning, Deep Blue Sea, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Cutthroat Island, Cliffhanger, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane)still lives. And I’m supposed to believe that there is a higher power at work?

    Actually, I think “Vincent and Theo” was one of my favorites.

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