Although I knew he was sick, so at least it didn’t come as a total shock, I’m tremendously sad about the death of director/actor Sydney Pollack, who succumbed to cancer yesterday at the too-young age of 73. Sydney Pollack has directed two of my all-time favorite films—Tootsie (quite simply, a perfect comedy) and The Way We Were (a flawed, but perfect to me, political romance). And he co-starred in one of my favorite Woody Allen films, Husbands and Wives (he was just brilliant as a man whose mid-life crisis led to a highly inappropriate affair and a bout of hilarious self-loathing). That’s three major film touchstones for me that this man was a part of. He’s best known for his directing—he won the Oscar for Out of Africa. But he was an underrated actor, I think. He was able to play a certain kind of under-represented character—the Jewish alpha male, if you will—and did so in an incredibly earthy, human way (he even managed to ground the loopy Eyes Wide Shut). I felt like I knew him. Or at least, I wished that I knew him. Sometimes when a film icon dies it feels personal. This is one of those times. RIP, Sydney.