Actor, director and producer Sydney Pollack was born in Lafayette, Indiana on July 1, 1934. After graduating from high school, he moved to New York City and enrolled in the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. While there, he studied under Stanford Meisner from 1952 to 1954 and became his assistant from 1954 to 1959. He directed about 20 films including The Way We Were, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, and Tootsie. He won two Oscars for Out of Africa, one as director and one as producer of the film. He produced more than 40 films including Presumed Innocent, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Michael Clayton. He also acted in numerous films and television shows including Husbands and Wives, Eyes Wide Shut, Michael Clayton, Frasier, Will and Grace, and The Sopranos. He received the first annual Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking award from the Austin Film Festival on October 21, 2006. He died of cancer on May 26, 2008.