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The Reeler Blog

Robert Altman Dead at 81

The New York Times is reporting (via AP) that director Robert Altman has passed away in a Los Angeles hospital. The cause of death has not been disclosed; he was 81.

"No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have," Altman said while accepting [his 2006 Lifetime Achievement Oscar]. "I'm very fortunate in my career. I've never had to direct a film I didn't choose or develop. My love for filmmaking has given me an entree to the world and to the human condition."

Altman had been ill much of the summer, postponing a June engagement at the Pioneer Theater and shortly thereafter unable to attend the New York premiere of A Prairie Home Companion. Nevertheless, if I'm not mistaken, Altman's last public appearance occurred in New York on Oct. 30, when he and Garrison Keillor joined the audience for a discussion following a Companion screening at Makor.

The Reeler sends its condolences to Altman's family -- which, at his films' best, really felt like it could have included all of us.

UPDATE: A press release sent out by Altman's Sandcastle 5 Productions earlier this afternoon revealed Altman succumbed to "complications due to cancer" -- a disease he had been battling for 18 months and through which he wrote, shot and publicized the entirety of Companion.

Posted at November 21, 2006 12:16 PM

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