Don Siegel

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Donald Siegel (October 26, 1912 - April 20, 1991) was an influential American film director and producer. His name appeared in the credits of his films as both Don Siegel and Donald Siegel.

Born in Chicago, he graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge in England, and found work in Warner Bros. film library, rising to become head of the Montage Department, where he directed thousands of montages, including the opening montage for Casablanca. In 1945 two shorts he directed, Hitler Lives? and A Star in the Night, won Academy Awards, which launched his career as a feature director.

He directed whatever material came his way, often transcending the limitations of budget and script to produce interesting and adept works. He directed two episodes of The Twilight Zone, "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross" and "Uncle Simon". He worked with Elvis Presley and Dolores del Río in Flaming Star (1960), and with Steve McQueen in Hell Is for Heroes and Lee Marvin in the influential The Killers (1964) before a series of films with Clint Eastwood that were commercially successful in addition to being well received by critics. These included the policiers Coogan's Bluff and Dirty Harry, the Budd Boetticher-scripted Western Two Mules for Sister Sara, the cynical American Civil War melodrama The Beguiled and the prison-break picture Escape from Alcatraz. He was a considerable influence on Eastwood's own career as a director, and Eastwood's film Unforgiven is dedicated "for Don [Siegel] and Sergio [Leone]".

He has a cameo role as a bartender in Eastwood's Play Misty For Me, and, as the director of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, appears as a "pod" taxi driver in Philip Kaufman's remake. In the film Charley Varrick (a film slated for Eastwood but ultimately turned down by the actor), starring Walter Matthau, he has a cameo as a ping-pong player.

From 1948 to 1953, he was married to the actress Viveca Lindfors, with whom he had a son, Kristoffer Tabori. He married Doe Avedon (a former actress and wife of photographer Richard Avedon) in 1957. They adopted four children and later divorced. He married Carol Rydall, former assistant to Clint Eastwood, and they remained together until he died at the age of 78 from cancer in Nipomo, California.

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