Biography of Sidney Lumet

Sidney Lumet was an American director and screenwriter who was nominated for Academy Awards five times throughout his lengthy and esteemed career. His best-known films are 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, Network, The Verdict, and Prince of the City. He was also influential in the theater community, as one of the original members of the Actors Studio.

Lumet grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the son of Polish Jewish parents who were active in the Yiddish theater. He studied acting at the Professional Children's School and appeared in Broadway plays as a child, before receiving his undergraduate degree from Columbia University. After a brief stint in the army, Lumet joined the Actors Studio and began directing plays. His first film was 12 Angry Men, an adaptation of a CBS live play, and it launched him into the public eye as an impressive up-and-comer.

Throughout the late 1950s and into the 1960s, Lumet was known for directing adaptations of classic plays, with films such as The Fugitive Kind (an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending starring Anna Magnani), The Iceman Cometh, A View from the Bridge, and Long Day's Journey into Night. His other films include The Group, The Deadly Affair, Child's Play, Serpico, Murder on the Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, Equus, The Wiz, The Verdict, The Morning After, Running on Empty, A Stranger Among Us, Gloria, Strip Search, and Before the Devil Know You're Dead.

In 2005, Lumet received a Lifetime Achievement award at the Academy Awards. He was known for his straightforward filmmaking, his consummately collaborative process, and often looked at issues of social justice in his films.

Study Guides on Works by Sidney Lumet

12 Angry Men is a film from 1957, directed by Sidney Lumet, with a screenplay by Reginald Rose, adapted from his teleplay. It looks at a jury of 12 men as they decide the fate of an 18-year-old defendant who is on trial for the murder of his...

The highly dubious “auteur theory” that distinguishes the director as the “author” of a film in the same way that a writer is the author of a novel simply does not hold when applied to Network. The film that reveals a shocking ability to produce...