The son of David Mazursky, a Jewish immigrant from Ukraine who worked as a laborer, and Jean Gerson Mazursky, a part-time pianist for a dance school, Brooklyn-born Paul Mazursky was best known as a director and Oscar-nominated screenwriter, though he began his show business career as an actor. He made his film acting debut in Stanley Kubrick's first feature, "Fear and Desire" (1953), for which he changed his first name from Irwin to Paul.
Mazursky would go on to appear in episodes of "The Twilight Zone" and "The Rifleman," and in supporting roles in such films as "A Star Is Born" (1976), "Into the Night" (1985), "Carlito's Way" (1993), "2 Days in the Valley" (1996) and "Antz" (1998).
He became a writer on "The Danny Kaye Show" in 1963, and in 1965 co-wrote the original pilot for "The Monkees" television series. His first screenplay was the Peter Sellers comedy "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas" (1968), and a year later he directed his first film, "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice." The latter film earned him an Academy Award nomination for screenwriting, his first of four in his career (plus a fifth as a producer).
Over the next few decades, Mazursky developed a reputation for smart, quirky movies about relationships, maturation and nostalgia, earning frequent comparisons to fellow New Yorker Woody Allen. Mazursky's films include "Blume in Love" (1973), "Harry and Tonto" (1974), "Next Stop, Greenwich Village" (1976), "An Unmarried Woman" (1978), "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" (1986), "Enemies, a Love Story" (1989), "The Pickle" (1993), "Coast to Coast" (2003) and "Yippee" (2006).
In 1999, Mazursky published an autobiography, "Show Me the Magic: My Adventures in Life and Hollywood." In recent years, he appeared in supporting roles in the HBO series "The Sopranos" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
Mazursky died June 30, 2014, of pulmonary cardiac arrest at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 84.
|1969||Best Original Screenplay||Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice||Nomination*|
|1974||Best Original Screenplay||Harry and Tonto||Nomination*|
|1978||Best Original Screenplay||An Unmarried Woman||Nomination|
|1978||Best Picture||An Unmarried Woman||Nomination*|
|1989||Best Adapted Screenplay||Enemies, A Love Story||Nomination*|