Gene Saks was a renowned director and actor who won three Tony Awards for his work on Broadway. He was best known for his collaboration with playwright Neil Simon, whom he directed in many of his plays and films. He died of pneumonia on March 28, 2015, at the age of 93. This article will explore his life, career, and legacy.
## Early Life and Career
Gene Saks was born on November 8, 1921, in New York City, the son of Beatrix and Morris Saks. He attended Cornell University and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He trained as an actor at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School and made his Broadway debut in South Pacific in 1949. He also appeared in plays such as A Shot in the Dark, The Tenth Man, and A Thousand Clowns. He made his film debut in the 1965 adaptation of A Thousand Clowns, playing the role of Leo Herman.
## Later Career and Success
Saks transitioned from acting to directing in the 1960s, and established a long-term partnership with Neil Simon. He directed Simon's plays such as The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Lost in Yonkers, and California Suite. He won Tony Awards for his direction of I Love My Wife, Brighton Beach Memoirs, and Biloxi Blues. He also directed Simon's film adaptations of The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, and Brighton Beach Memoirs.
Saks also directed other plays and musicals on Broadway, such as Enter Laughing, Half a Sixpence, Nobody Loves an Albatross, Mame, Same Time, Next Year, and Rags. He received Tony nominations for his direction of Half a Sixpence, Same Time, Next Year, and Lost in Yonkers. He also directed other films, such as Cactus Flower, which won an Oscar for Goldie Hawn, Mame, starring his then-wife Bea Arthur, and A Fine Romance.
## Gene Saks Cause of Death and Legacy
Saks died of pneumonia at his home in East Hampton, New York, on March 28, 2015. He was survived by his wife Keren, his daughter Annabelle, and his sons Matthew and Daniel. He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, California.
Saks left behind a rich and diverse body of work, both on stage and on screen. He was a master of comedy, who brought out the best in his actors and writers. He was a legend of Broadway, who influenced and entertained generations of theatergoers. He was a true artist, who dedicated his life to his craft.