Gene Saks Overview:

Director, Gene Saks, was born on Nov 8, 1921 in New York City, NY. Saks died at the age of 93 on Mar 28, 2015 in East Hampton, NY .


Gene Saks was trained as an actor and made his Broadway debut in 1949 in the original production of South Pacific (starring Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza). He began directing for Broadway in 1963, with Enter Laughing (which introduced actor Alan Arkin), followed by Nobody Loves an Albatross (Robert Preston); Half a Sixpence (Tommy Steele); Generation (Henry Fonda); Mame (Angela Lansbury); Same Time Next Year (Ellen Burstyn); How the Other Half Loves (Phil Silvers); Sheep on the Runway (by Art Buchwald) --  and eight Neil Simon plays, including Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues (both starring Matthew Broderick), California Suite and Lost in Yonkers.

Saks made his film directorial debut in 1967 with Barefoot in the Park (Jane Fonda and Robert Redford ), followed by The Odd Couple (Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau) and Cactus Flower (Ingrid Bergman, Walter Matthau and Goldie Hawn). Saks also appeared in various TV roles from 1951, and made his feature film debut in 1965 in A Thousand Clowns (reprising his Broadway role as Leo), followed by his role as Jack Lemmon's brother-in-law, Harry Edison, in The Prisoner of Second Avenue in 1975.  

Saks was married to actress Bea Arthur from 1950-1980 (divorced), whom he directed in the 1975 film version of Mame (Arthur played the role of Vera Charles opposite Lucille Ball who played Mame).

(Source: article by Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub).



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Gene Saks Facts
Known for his close, over two-decade association with writer Neil Simon, which included directing Simon's film versions of Barefoot in the Park (1967), The Odd Couple (1968), Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972), and Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986).

Won Broadway's Tony Award three Times: as Best Director (Musical), in 1977 for "I Love My Wife," and as Best Director (Play), in 1983 for "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and in 1985 for "Biloxi Blues." He was also Tony-nominated on four other occasions: as Best Director (Musical), in 1965 for "Half a Sixpence" and in 1966 for "Mame," as Best Director (Dramatic), in 1975 for "Same Time, Next Year;" and as Best Director (Play) in 1991 for "Lost in Yonkers."

Directed both the Broadway show and film version of "Mame" that featured then-wife Bea Arthur.

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