Seven-time Oscar nominee Robert Altman, director of such memorable films as Nashville, Gosford Park, The Player, and M*A*S*H, died Monday night in Los Angeles. He was 81.
Known for films with wry, free-flowing dialogue, Altman was a favorite among actors, as this clip of Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep – presenting Altman with a lifetime achievement Oscar last February – makes abundantly clear.
To get Altman’s own take on his long and storied career, check out Missy Schwartz’s EW profile of Altman from this past summer, right before the director released his final film, A Prairie Home Companion. In it, Altman said he woke up most mornings facing the idea of death, but it hadn’t seemed to slow his zest for his work.
Perhaps that’s because Altman remained staunchly uncompromising throughout his career. A remark the director made while accepting his Oscar, quoted here in his New York Times obituary, sums up his philosophy rather nicely. “No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have. I’m very fortunate in my career. I’ve never had to direct a film I didn’t choose or develop,” he said. “My love for filmmaking has given me an entree to the world and to the human condition.”