Ulu Grosbard, Stage and Film Director, Dies at 83

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Director Ulu Grosbard, a two-time Tony Award nominee whose credits include two Dustin Hoffman films of the 1970s and several collaborations with Robert Duvall, has died, The New York Times reported. He was 83.

His nephew, Robert Grosbard, told the newspaper that the director, a native of Belgium, died late Sunday or early Monday at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. He had lived in Greenwich Village for years.

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Grosbard was nominated for his first Tony in 1965 for The Subject Was Roses, Frank D. Gilroy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a soldier (Martin Sheen) returning from war to his parents (Irene Dailey and Tony winner Jack Albertson) in the Bronx. His second nom came in 1977 for the original Broadway production of David Mamet's American Buffalo, the junk shop-set drama that starred Duvall.

Grosbard directed Hoffman in Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? (1971) and Straight Time (1978) and helmed the 1968 screen adaptation of The Subject Was Roses, his feature debut that starred Sheen, Albertson and Patricia Neal.

Other credits include Falling in Love (1984), starring Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep; Georgia (1995), with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Mare Winningham as sisters; and The Deep End of the Ocean (1999), starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Treat Williams.

“Actors always ask, ‘What was the director like?’ and they say he was great if he leaves you alone,” Duvall told The Times. “Ulu was the kind of guy who wanted to see what you brought — and then we’d talk. He was very serious; he had keen perceptions about things. He was a pretty intellectual guy, and I’m OK. But there was a balance there between us. We hit it off right from the start.”

Grosbard and Duvall worked together on stage in 1962's The Days and Nights of Beebee Fenstermaker, a 1965 revival of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge and the 1981 L.A. cop film True Confessions.

Grosbard, who worked as a diamond cutter in Havana as a youngster when his family fled Belgium during World War II, also served as an assistant director on such films as Robert Rossen's The Hustler (1961), Elia Kazan's Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Arthur Penn's The Miracle Worker (1962).

Survivors include his wife, actress Rose Gregorio, who appeared in Harry Kellerman, True Confessions and Deep End of the Ocean for her husband.
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