September 15, 2005

Robert Wise (1914-2005)

Hollywood has again lost one of its brighter lights: Academy Award-winning director Robert Wise died yesterday of heart failure, at the ripe old age of 91.

Wise brought two classic musicals to the silver screen: West Side Story in 1961, and The Sound of Music in 1965. Both films won both the Best Director and Best Picture Oscar in their respective years.

However, Wise was not limited to bringing stage musicals to film. He was capable of working within any genre, notably directing three classic science-fiction films: 1951's The Day the Earth Stood Still, 1971's The Andromeda Strain (arguably the best movie made from a Michael Crichton novel), and 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which propelled the Trek franchise into more and greater success than it had had in its original run.

One further interesting point of trivia: Wise was the editor for Citizen Kane and the last surviving crewmember of that movie.