Robert Mulligan

Active - 1957 - 1991  |   Born - Aug 23, 1925   |   Died - Dec 20, 2008   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy, Comedy Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

After a stab at studying for the priesthood, Bronx-born Robert Mulligan majored in radio communications at Fordham University. He carried over his radio skills into his WWII service with the Marines, then landed a postwar job in the editorial department of the New York Times. He joined the CBS television network as a messenger boy, graduating to director of such live series as Suspense and Playhouse 90. In 1957, Mulligan collaborated for the first time with his future partner, producer/writer/director Alan J. Pakula; the team's initial film effort was Fear Strikes Out (1957), a biography of mercurial baseball player Jimmy Piersall. Forming Pakula-Mulligan Productions in 1962, Mulligan went on to be nominated for a Best Director Academy Award for To Kill a Mockingbird. Mulligan's 1960s films seem to be far more heartfelt and personal than one expects from Hollywood products of that decade, though he is stronger on style and characterization than projecting a discernible point of view. Splitting with Pakula in 1969, Mulligan went on to direct a wide variety of subjects: the 1971 nostalgia piece Summer of '42, the 1972 horror effort The Other, the 1979 stage-to-screen adaptation Same Time, Next Year, and so on. After a three-year absence, Mulligan returned to directing in 1991 with the amiable Summer of '42 rehash Man in the Moon. Robert Mulligan was the brother of Richard Mulligan, an actor best known for his TV work on such series as Soap and Empty Nest.

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