Robert Mulligan, RIP

If you’re a person, as I am, who likes American movies and came of age in a pretty golden era (i.e., the 1970s), the obits pile up as the generation of established stars of my wayward youth shuffle off, those born in the 1920s, many of them (men, anyway) veterans of WWII, and many cutting their teeth in live television in New York in the 50s. Too many to name, but we lost Heston and Newman in 2008 for starters, both of whom owed a lot to those early days when there were no rules and directors, actors and writers could pretty much do whatever they wanted with this new, wacky medium.

And even a casual bio reading of these stars turns up the name Bob Mulligan, who passed away yesterday at the age of 83. Not particularly prolific in film (he did a lot of stage work), Mulligan was a big part of the Golden Age of Television, and still directed a few sentimental sorta movie favorites of mine (Inside Daisy Clover, Up The Down Staircase, Summer Of ’42, and Same Time, Next Year).

And, of course, gave us To Kill A Mockingbird.

But, as this nice Richard Corliss remembrance notes, his major contribution to film history may just be that he prevented us from looking back at that film and remembering Rock Hudson as Atticus Finch.

Sort of makes you shiver a little.

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