Mortimer H. Rydell
March 23, 1929
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, director, producer|
(m. 1962; div. 1973)
(m. 1984; div. 2007)
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 initially trained in music. As a youth, he wanted to be a conductor. He said he left music because of the proliferation of drugs among the musicians. "Heroin was the drug of choice," he said. "Knowing that I have an addict's personality in that a little is good but a lot is better, I knew I was in danger. So I went back to college and went to the Neighborhood Playhouse". 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.  During the series run he directed Roots off broadway in 1961.
In 1962, Rydell declined to sign another long-term contract at ATWT, and producers had his character die in a car crash.  He later 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).
Rydell moved into directing television and soon became very successful. He did episodes of Mr. Novak, Ben Casey, The Reporter , Slattery's People, I Spy, The Wild Wild West, The Long, Hot Summer, and Gunsmoke. He later said "I come from the school of sitting around the table for two weeks examining every detail of the material, working out relationships with the actors, so they know what they are doing, bringing them to locations, so they can get comfortable."
Rydell's first feature as director was The Fox (1967) which became very popular at the box office, in part due to its then-rare lesbian content. He signed a multi picture contract with the film's producer Raymond Stross but disliked working with him and says he ended up paying out four times his fee for the picture to get out of the contract. Nonetheless he credits Stross for starting his feature career. He directed Steve McQueen in The Reivers (1969). Rydell and friend Sydney Pollack, who had known each other since they were both actors, formed a company, Sanford Productions, and signed a six picture contract with the Mirisch Brothers. They were going to make Good Luck Miss Wycoff but it was not made.
Rydell directed John Wayne in The Cowboys (1972). He made a romantic comedy, Cinderella Liberty (1973), with James Caan and Marsha Mason. Around this time he said he did not want to make genre movies, "I want to create my own genre." He was reunited with Caan on Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976) which was a box office flop, and directed the pilot episode of Family (1976).
Rydell directed The Rose (1979), starring Bette Midler, which was a huge hit. So too was On Golden Pond (1981), starring Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn, for which Rydell received an Oscar nomination as Best Director. "I'm this week's heat," he joked at the time. He was going to make a film based on the play Nuts but instead did The River (1984), with Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek. It was not a commercial success. Neither was Rydell's next film, For the Boys (1991), with Caan and Midler.
Rydell made the TV movie McBride and Groom (1993) and the feature Intersection (1994). He directed the TV movies Crime of the Century (1996), which starred Isabella Rossellini and Stephen Rea and 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). He was credited as executive producer on An Unfinished Life (2005).
Three years later – working with actor Martin Landau and screenwriter/playwright Lyle Kessler – he produced an education seminar, The Total Picture Seminar. The two-day event covers 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.
He executive produced the documentary A Coup in Camelot (2015).
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.
- 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)
- 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
- Senior Entourage (2020) as Mark
- Emery, Robert J. (2002). The Directors: Take One, Volume 1 (illustrated ed.). New York: Skyhorse Publishing Inc. p. 305. ISBN 9781581152180.
- Gallagher, John Andrew (1989). Film Directors on Directing (illustrated ed.). New York: ABC-CLIO. p. 209. ISBN 9780275932725.
- "Yari Film Group - Mark Rydell". www.yarifilmgroup.com. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
- Mark Rydell: On Acting, Directing and Woody: [HOME EDITION] King, Susan. Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]01 May 2002: F.1
- "'As the World Turns' super couples". Newsday.
- TV Guide June 29 – July 5, 1996 pg. 20.
- As the World Turns, Mark Rydell Is Doing Better Freeman, Alex. Chicago Tribune 7 Sep 1963: b10.
- THREAD OF CONTINUITY: Rydell Films Frame Human Condition RYDELL Warga, Wayne. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]01 Jan 1970: e1.
- POLLACK, RYDELL SIGN MIRISCH FILM PACT Los Angeles Times (21 June 1969: a7.
- Pair to Film 'Miss Wyckoff' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]28 Aug 1970: d17.
- 'A Mark Rydell Film': His Own Genre By Tom Shales. The Washington Post14 Feb 1974: D13.
- Murphy, Mary (December 7, 1974). "Bronfman Jr. to Film 'Harlequin'". Los Angeles Times. p. a6.
- Bette Midler Comes Up 'Rose' Mann, Roderick. Los Angeles Times 1 Mar 1979: f10.
- RYDELL: HE DIRECTED THE DREAM TEAM SOSENFIELD, PAUL. Los Angeles Times29 Nov 1981: l37.
- Rydell hopes 'The River' will be another hit farmland saga: Director Rydell is proud of 'The River' Thomas, Bob. Chicago Tribune 4 Jan 1985: f15c.
- A GROUP PLAYER SANTA FE FILM FESTIVAL SALUTES DIRECTOR MARK RYDELL Nott, Robert, I. The Santa Fe New Mexican; Santa Fe, N.M. [Santa Fe, N.M]04 Dec 2009: PA.54.