'Cool Hand Luke,' 'Amityville' on film resume

Stuart Rosenberg, who partnered with Paul Newman on the widely popular prison drama “Cool Hand Luke” and directed “The Amityville Horror,” died of a heart attack Thursday in Beverly Hills. He was 79.

Rosenberg’s first film was “Cool Hand Luke,” the 1967 drama he directed in which Newman starred as an inmate on a chain gang who becomes an unlikely hero.

“He was as good as anybody I ever worked with,” Newman said in a statement.

“Cool Hand Luke” was nominated for four Academy Awards, with George Kennedy taking home a statuette for supporting actor. The film also spawned the famous line delivered by Strother Martin as a guard captain: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

Rosenberg was nominated for a Directors Guild Award for the film but lost to Mike Nichols, who made “The Graduate” the same year.

After “Cool Hand Luke,” Rosenberg directed Jack Lemmon and Catherine Deneuve in “The April Fools.” He worked with Newman again on “WUSA,” “Pocket Money” and “The Drowning Pool.”

Rosenberg also directed Robert Redford in the 1980 prison film “Brubaker” and Mickey Rourke in 1984’s “The Pope of Greenwich Village.” “Amityville Horror,” in 1979, was probably his most financially successful film; it has inspired seven sequels to date.

His last film was “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” in 1991.

Born in Brooklyn, he studied at NYU and got a job as an apprentice film editor in TV while attending grad school.

Rosenberg had started out by directing episodes of television series in the 1950s, beginning with “Decoy,” which starred Beverly Garland as a New York City policewoman.

He collected more than 300 TV directing credits for such dramatic series as “The Untouchables,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Twilight Zone,” and he won an Emmy in 1963 for an episode of “The Defenders.”

Rosenberg is survived by his wife, Margot; son Benjamin, an assistant director who worked with his father on many of his later films; and four grandchildren.

— Associated Press

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