Arthur Penn, the stage and film director whose iconic Bonnie and Clyde ushered in the post-classical age of Hollywood, has died. He was 88.
Penn died Tuesday — the day after his 88th birthday — his friend and accountant, Evan Bell, told The New York Times. Bell said Penn had been sick for a year, but did not disclose the cause of death.
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A Philadelphia native and brother of the late still photographer Irving Penn, Penn first made his name directing television dramas and Broadway plays in the 1950s and '60s. He earned Tony nominations for his stage productions of Two for the Seesaw, The Miracle Worker and All the Way Home, winning for The Miracle Worker. Star Anne Bancroft also won a Tony.
Penn first directed The Miracle Worker for the CBS series Playhouse 90 and then brought it to the big screen in 1962 with Bancroft. The film won best actress and supporting actress awards for Bancroft and Patty Duke, respectively, while Penn was nominated for best director.
In 1967, he helmed Bonnie and Clyde, the rural crime drama starring Warren Beatty — who worked with Penn in 1965's Mickey One — and Faye Dunaway that encouraged audiences to side with the bad guys. The landmark film, an homage to French New Wave films and in line with the counterculture spirit, broke the mold in Hollywood, as it was sexually explicit and violent in ways not yet portrayed on celluloid stateside.
Watch clips from Bonnie and Clyde
The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including director for Penn, but won only two: supporting actress for Estelle Parsons and cinematography for Burnett Guffney.
Penn reunited with Dunaway for the critically acclaimed 1970 western Little Big Man, in which Dustin Hoffman starred as a white man accepted by the Cheyenne Native American tribe.
His other credits include 1975's Night Moves starring Gene Hackman and 1976's The Missouri Breaks with Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando.
Penn is survived by wife Peggy Maurer and two children, Molly and Matthew.