Oscar Directors: Rydell, Mark–Background, Career, Awards, Filmography

September 26, 2020

Mark Rydell Career Summation

Occupational Inheritance:

Nationality: US

Social Class:

Race/Ethnicity/Religion: Jewish


Formal Education: music; wanted to be conductor

Training: Actor; studied at Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in NYC

First Film: The Fox, 1967; aged 38


First Oscar Nomination: On Golden Pond, 1981; aged 52

Gap between First Film and First Nom: 14 years

Other Oscars:

Other Oscar Nominations:

Oscar Awards:

Nominations Span:

Genre (specialties): melodramas


Last Film: Even Money, 2006; aged 77

Retired: 77


Career Length: as director, 1967-2006; 39 years

Career Output: about 11 (in 39 yrs)

Marriage: 2; actress; then docu producer; divorced


Death: NA

Mark Rydell (born Mortimer H. Rydell; March 23, 1929) is an American actor, film director and producer. He has directed many Academy Award-nominated films including The Fox (1967), The Reivers (1969), The Cowboys (1972), Cinderella Liberty (1973), The Rose (1979), The River (1984) and For the Boys (1991).

He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for On Golden Pond (1981).

Rydell’s initial training was in music. As a youth, he wanted to be a conductor. He studied acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. His first notable roles were as Walt Johnson on The Edge of Night, and as Jeff Baker on As the World Turns, which he played from December 12, 1956, to 1962. The role of Jeff was a particularly popular role with the audience.

In 1962, Rydell declined to sign another long-term contract at ATWT, and producers had his character die in a car crash.

He won plaudits for his role of violent Jewish mob kingpin Marty Augustine in Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye (1973). His most recent significant film role was in Woody Allen’s Hollywood Ending (2002).

As a director, Rydell’s credits include The Reivers (1969), The Cowboys (1972), Cinderella Liberty (1973), The Rose (1979), On Golden Pond (1981), for which he received an Oscar nomination as Best Director, The River (1984), For the Boys (1991), and Intersection (1994). He directed the TV movie Crime of the Century (1996), which starred Isabella Rossellini and Stephen Rea. In 2006, Rydell directed the movie Even Money.

Rydell was also the director of the TV bio-pic James Dean (2001), which earned actor James Franco a Golden Globe award. Rydell also acted in the movie, playing Jack L. Warner (head of Warner Bros).

In 2009, Rydell, working with actor Martin Landau and screenwriter/playwright Lyle Kessler, produced an education seminar, The Total Picture Seminar. It is a two-day event covering the disciplines of acting, directing, and writing for film. The three have worked together as a team for many decades at The Actors Studio teaching and coaching professional actors, writers, and directors. In 2010, Rydell joined the Advisory Board of Openfilm, an online video sharing site created to help aspiring independent filmmakers.

Personal life
Rydell was born Mortimer H. Rydell on March 23, 1928, in New York City.

He married actress Joanne Linville in 1962. They had two children, Amy and Christopher, both actors. Rydell and Linville divorced in 1973. Rydell has another son, Alexander, by his second marriage (to documentary producer Esther Rydell). They were divorced in 2007.

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As director

The Fox (1967)
The Reivers (1969)
The Cowboys (1972)
Cinderella Liberty (1973)
Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976)
The Rose (1979)
On Golden Pond (1981)
The River (1984)
For the Boys (1991)
Intersection (1994)
Even Money (2006)


Mr. Novak (episode on TV series) (1964)
Ben Casey (episodes on TV series) (1963–64)
The Reporter (episode on TV series) (1964)
Slattery’s People (episode on TV series) (1965)
I Spy (episodes on TV series) (1965)
The Wild Wild West (episode on TV series) (1966)
The Long, Hot Summer (episodes on TV series) (1965–66)
The Fugitive (episode on TV series) (1966)
Gunsmoke (episodes on TV series) (1964–66)
Family (episode on TV series) (1976)
McBride and Groom (TV movie) (1993)
Crime of the Century (TV movie) (1996)
James Dean (TV movie) (2001)
Masters of Science Fiction (episode on TV mini-series) (2007)
As actor
Crime in the Streets (1956) as Lou Macklin
The Long Goodbye (1973) as Marty Augustine
Punchline (1988) as Romeo
Havana (1990) as Meyer Lansky
A Man Is Mostly Water (2000) as Distributor
Hollywood Ending (2002) as Al