Robert Mulligan


Director
Robert Mulligan

About

Birth Place
Bronx, New York, USA
Born
August 23, 1925
Died
December 19, 2008
Cause of Death
Heart Disease

Biography

Critically-neglected for his lack of a consistent, visual style in an era that prizes an auteur's distinctive stamp, Robert Mulligan allowed his stories to dictate their look, so there is nothing about the black-and-white measured pictorialism of arguably his greatest film, "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962), that would indicate he was the same man responsible for "Summer of '42" (1971), its...

Family & Companions

Jane Lee Sutherland
Wife
Actor. Married in 1952.

Biography

Critically-neglected for his lack of a consistent, visual style in an era that prizes an auteur's distinctive stamp, Robert Mulligan allowed his stories to dictate their look, so there is nothing about the black-and-white measured pictorialism of arguably his greatest film, "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962), that would indicate he was the same man responsible for "Summer of '42" (1971), its pastel prettiness evoking the nostalgia of memory. The former divinity student started as a messenger at CBS and rose through the ranks, establishing himself during the 1950s helming fare for that network's "Playhouse 90," "Suspense" and "TV Playhouse," among other series. Noted for his deft handling of actors, Mulligan graduated to features with "Fear Strikes Out" (1957), an absorbing account of the personal problems which led baseball star Jim Piersall (Anthony Perkins) to a nervous breakdown. Before directing another film, he would helm two highly-acclaimed TV projects, "Member of the Wedding" (CBS, 1958) and "The Moon and Sixpence" (NBC, 1959), winning an Emmy for the latter.

Mulligan is not a director without through lines in his work. Beginning with Piersall, outsiders have fascinated him, and he has returned to that theme again and again: the enlightened attorney (Academy Award-winning Gregory Peck) at odds with the bigoted community of "Mockingbird"; the ex-convict (Steve McQueen) in "Baby the Rain Must Fall" (1965), trying to adjust to life outside the penitentiary; the real-life character of Ferdinand Demara (Tony Curtis) in "The Great Impostor" (1960), gaining entrance to normally off-limit situations through his skillful impersonations. Then there is his extraordinary insight into the world of the child or adolescent. Who can forget Scout, the little girl through whose eyes the audience sees her small town's racism in "Mockingbird"? He has given us the lost and jaded students of "Up the Down Staircase" (1967), the pubescent boys who learn about sex and morality in "Summer of '42," the irrevocably evil child of "The Other" (1972) and the tomboy coming of age in "The Man in the Moon" (1991).

His collaboration with producer Alan J Pakula yielded some of his best work, particularly the enduring "Mockingbird," which continues to please audiences whether they are viewing it for the first or fifth time. After their partnership ended, Mulligan proved himself with such other successes as "Summer of '42" and "The Other," a gothic chiller adapted from the novel by Tom Tryon, but missed with much of his later work like "Kiss Me Goodbye" (1982), a reworking of the Brazilian film "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands," and "Clara's Heart" (1988), which explored the relationship between a Jamaican nanny (Whoopi Goldberg) and her young, impressionable charge (Neil Patrick Harris). He rebounded with his last feature (to date), "The Man in the Moon," an old-fashioned weepie set in the rural Louisiana of 1957, featuring newcomer Reese Witherspoon as a 14-year-old in love with an older boy, who in turn prefers her college-bound sister. Mulligan showed he had not lost his touch for drawing compelling performances from adolescent actors.

Life Events

1955

Helmed segments of NBC's "The Alcoa Hour"

1956

Directed "Victor Borge's Comedy in Music (I and II)" (both for CBS)

1957

Feature film debut as director, "Fear Strikes Out"

1958

Broadway directing debut, "Comes a Day", starring Judith Anderson

1958

Produced and directed the CBS telecast of "The Member of the Wedding", adapted from the novel by Carson McCullers

1959

Won an Emmy for directing NBC's "The Moon and Sixpence", based on the Somerset Maugham novel, starring Anderson and Laurence Olivier; also produced

1962

With Alan J Pakula, founded Pakula-Mulligan Productions

1962

Received Oscar nomination as Best Director for "To Kill a Mockingbird"; first Pakula-Mulligan feature

1965

First feature credit as producer (with Pakula), "Inside Daisy Clover", an underrated Hollywood expose starring Natalie Wood and Robert Redford; also directed

1969

Dissolved Pakula-Mulligan Productions

1971

Narrated and directed "Summer of '42"

1972

Directed and produced "The Other"

1979

Co-produced and directed "Same Time, Next Year", based on Bernard Slade's two-character Broadway play

1991

Last feature (to date) as director, "Man in the Moon"

Photo Collections

To Kill a Mockingbird - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of lobby cards from Universal Pictures' To Kill a Mockingbird (1963), starring Gregory Peck. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) - Squirrels And Rabbits Young Walter (Steve Condit) is a guest at dinner after a schoolyard scrap with Scout (Mary Badham), Atticus (Gregory Peck) and Jem (Phillip Alford) joining conversation, in To Kill A Mockingbird, 1962, from Harper Lee's novel and Horton Foote's screenplay.
Bloodbrothers (1978) - Take A Run At Old Three Finger Profane scene introducing Richard Gere as “Stony” De Coco of The Bronx, fuming mad as he watches Cheri (Kristine DeBell) dance at a disco, with Marilu Henner the waitress, Ron McLarty the bouncer, and Kim Milford his buddy Butler, early in Bloodbrothers, 1978, starring Tony LoBianco and Paul Sorvino as his father and uncle.
Bloodbrothers (1978) - Just Do What I Tell You After numerous colorful events in the opening scenes the night before, a fleshy and tense domestic events with Tony LoBianco as Bronx construction worker Tommy, Richard Gere his elder son, Leila Goldoni his wife, and Michael Hershewe his lilttle brother, in Bloodbrothers, 1978, from the Richard Price novel.
Bloodbrothers (1978) - You Know What's Really Sick? At a Bronx hospital, the doctor (Floyd Levine) has correctly deduced that young Albert (Michael Hershewe) is anorexic because he's been abused by his troubled mother (Lelia Goldoni), refusing therapy and griping at her suspicious older son Stony (Richard Gere), in Bloodbrothers, 1978, directed by Robert Mulligan.
Bloodbrothers (1978) - Cats Are Ancient Souls After a long credit sequence, the sun setting with an aerial trip over The Bronx, director Robert Mulligan lands in the bar run by Banion (Kenneth McMillan) where we meet Tony LoBianco as Tommy, waiting on Paul Sorvino as brother “Chubby,” and Gloria LeRoy as floozy Sylvia, in Bloodbrothers, 1978, with lots of swearing, from the Richard Price novel.
Baby The Rain Must Fall (1965) - Open, I Almost Fried Joining the opening from the To Kill A Mockingbird team, director Robert Mulligan, producer Alan J. Pakula and writer Horton Foote, from Baby The Rain Must Fall, introducing Zama Cunninghan, Lee Remick and young Kimberly Block, shot in Foote's hometown of Wharton, Texas.
Baby The Rain Must Fall (1965) - I Could Sing All Night As honky-tonk singer Henry Thomas, Steve McQueen with his not-terrific lip-synch to a vocal by Billy Strange, then with boyhood buddy and sheriff Slim (Don Murray), in Baby The Rain Must Fall, 1965, from Horton Foote's play and screenplay, Glen Campbell his electric guitar player!
To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) - Don't Go Near That Dog! Atticus (Gregory Peck) with Scout (Mary Badham), then Kim Stanley's narration to the vignette about the mad dog, featuring Caplurnia (Estelle Evans), Jem (Phillip Alford) and Sheriff Tate (Frank Overton), from To Kill A Mockingbird, 1962.
Fear Strikes Out (1957) - I Showed 'Em! Never happened but represents similar incidents, Jim Piersall (Anthony Perkins), hits an inside-the-park home run at Fenway, Dad (Karl Malden) and wife (Norma Moore) in the stands, then wigs out, in Fear Strikes Out, 1957.
Come September (1961) - Earliest Consumation The opening having shown the arrival of American tycoon Robert (Rock Hudson) in Milan, we meet Lisa (Gina Lollobrigida), whom we surmise is his one-month-per-year mistress, who has made plans without him, in the 1961 hit Come September, also starring Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee.
Come September (1961) - She's A Beaut! En route from Milan to his villa at Portofino, American tycoon Robert (Rock Hudson) has a series of encounters with snarky fellow Yanks, college men, Bobby Darin as Tony, Joel Grey as “Beagle,” with Ronnie Haran and Chris Seitz, early in Come September, 1961.
Come September (1961) - Analysis Would Help Him! Rich American Robert (Rock Hudson) hasn’t quite realized that butler Maurice (Walter Slezak) has turned his Italian villa into a hotel in his absence, and he’s still obfuscating when chaperone Brenda de Banzie and psych student Sandy (Sandra Dee) appear, in Come September, 1961.

Trailer

Promo

Family

Robert Edward Mulligan
Father
Policeman.
Elizabeth Mulligan
Mother
Richard Mulligan
Brother
Actor. Born in November 1932; starred in the sitcoms "Soap" and "Empty Nest"; died in September 2000.
James Mulligan
Brother

Companions

Jane Lee Sutherland
Wife
Actor. Married in 1952.

Bibliography