Director John Schlesinger dies

Jul 25, 2003 by Ian Evans

John Schlesinger, the Oscar®-winning director behind films like Midnight Cowboy and Marathon Man died today at age 77. The director had a stroke back in December 2000; his health has been deteriorating since.

Schlesinger stirred things up when his first American film, Midnight Cowboy, was released in 1969. The film, which starred Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, was rated X at the time because of its gay theme. Critics loved the film and it was nominated for seven Academy Awards®. It won Oscars® for best director, best picture and best adapted screenplay. It was the only time an X-rated film won Best Picture. As social mores changed, the rating was later dropped to an R.

Schlesinger’s work looked at homosexuality again in 1971 when he released Sunday Bloody Sunday. The film’s leads, played by Peter Finch and Glenda Jackson, eached shared a love for the same man. Schlesinger received another Oscar nomination for the film.

He teamed with Hoffman again in 1975 for Marathon Man, which pitted the Method Actor against legend Laurence Olivier. The flick’s painful dental torture scenes probable led to more cavaties then sugar.

Schlesinger’s last film was the 2000 comedy The Next Best Thing.