We at the Skirball mourn the loss of Paul Mazursky, undeniably one of America’s great filmmakers. He was at the vanguard of a generation of American auteurs who took their cues from the history of American and foreign film and adapted it to contemporary filmmaking. Paul had an understanding of and an ability to create both comedy and drama that touched us all in so many ways. From Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, his first film, he made an instant mark upon the American psyche. The list of his classics is long and includes the extraordinary Harry and Tonto, the heartfelt Next Stop, Greenwich Village, the trailblazing An Unmarried Woman, and the madcap Down and Out in Beverly Hills. As an actor, too, Paul captivated audiences in important work, from Stanley Kubrick’s Fear and Desire right through to episodes of The Twilight Zone and, more recently, Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Paul gave generously of his time and participated in numerous programs with us at the Skirball. Most recently I was fortunate enough to work with him on a 2012 Skirball retrospective of his films, a series we entitled “Through a Glass Brightly.” I will always remember Paul’s friendly manner and his brilliant storytelling both on screen and off. I am sad to think of all the movies he never got to make and the Broadway musical adaptation of his film Moon over Parador that he won’t live to see. But I am buoyed by how fortunate the world was to have Paul Mazursky show us ourselves through his own lens.
At the Skirball’s 2012 conversation between Mazursky and Segal, one lucky member of the audience had a great seat and recorded the Q&A. Enjoy: