More sad news to report, the talented director Arthur Penn is no longer with us. He died one day after celebrating his 88th birthday on Tuesday night at his home in Manhattan from congestive heart failure. He was an original talent who brought us some amazing films and we’ll never forget him because of them.
Penn began his directing career on Broadway and moved on to television with “The Gulf Playhouse,” “Playhouse 90,” and “The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse.” Even while making a name for himself on the small screen he kept his foot in theater. One of his most acclaimed stage productions was 1959′s The Miracle Worker. It centered on a blind and deaf girl named Helen Keller who learns how to be self-sufficient through her long suffering teacher.
Penn directed a feature film version of the play in 1962, which starred Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke. It went on to to win two Oscars including Best Lead Actress for Bancroft and Best Supporting Actress for Duke. Next Penn dabbled in 1966′s The Chase with Marlon Brandon, Jane Fonda, and Robert Redford before teaming up with Warren Beatty for his most acclaimed film to date, Bonnie and Clyde.
Even though the film was set during the Depression, it was a commentary on the counterculture climate that was present in 1967. It explored violence and sexuality without pulling any punches. Penn once said, “I thought that if we’re going to show this (violence), we should SHOW it.”
RIP Arthur Penn.