Gene Saks, Tony-Winning Stage and Film Director, Dies at 93

AP Photo/Jerry Mosey
Gene Saks in 1977.

He directed numerous Neil Simon plays on Broadway and on the screen, along with the films 'Cactus Flower' and 'Mame.'

Gene Saks, a director who earned three Tony Awards and frequently collaborated with Neil Simon, has died. He was 93.

Saks died March 28 following a bout with pneumonia, his wife, Keren, said, according to the New York Times

Saks had a long-standing professional relationship with Simon and directed many of his plays, including Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983) and Biloxi Blues (1985). Both projects earned Saks a Tony for directing, as did the Cy Coleman-Michael Stewart musical I Love My Wife (1977).

Other Simon plays staged by Saks include Half a Sixpence (1965), Same Time, Next Year (1975), California Suite (1976), Broadway Bound (1986), Rumors (1988), Lost in Yonkers (1991) and Jake's Women (1992). His final Broadway production was the bio-play Barrymore, which won a Tony for Christopher Plummer in 1997.

Additionally, Saks directed a number of films, such as Cactus Flower (1969) and Mame (1974). He directed the film versions of several Simon plays, including Barefoot in the Park (1967), The Odd Couple (1968), Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972) and Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986).

Saks, who was born in Manhattan and grew up in Hackensack, N.J., began his career as an actor. His best-known stage role came in 1962's A Thousand Clowns. He also appeared in the films Nobody's Fool (1994) and Deconstructing Harry (1997).

He is survived by wife Keren, their daughter, Annabelle, and three grandchildren. He is also survived by sons Matthew and Daniel from his marriage to his first wife, actress Bea Arthur.

The lights on Broadway theater marquees will be dimmed for one minute on Wednesday, April 1, at 7:45pm ET in memory of Saks.

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