Robert Altman dies at age 81 *

AltmanThe director died last night in an undisclosed Los Angeles hospital. His production company hasn't yet released the cause of death. Altman directed critical favorites such as M-A-S-H, Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts and Gosford Park and was known for "one of the most distinctive styles among modern filmmakers," Variety says. Often bitingly satirical in his films, he was nominated for five Academy Awards but received only an honorary Oscar this year for lifetime achievement. In his acceptance speech he revealed that he had undergone a heart transplant eleven years earlier. Rick Lyman in the New York Times calls Altman "one of the most adventurous and influential American directors of the late 20th century." NYT, Variety, LAT

* Update: He died at Cedars-Sinai of cancer complications, his spokespeople say.

In March, Tim Grierson wrote at The Simon about living in Robert Altman's Los Angeles.

Previous L.A. obituaries

Photo: Sara Krulwich/New York Times

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