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In The First Biography On Director Sidney Lumet, A Storied Career Is Revisited

Peter Finch in Lumet's 1976 film
Peter Finch in Lumet's 1976 film "Network."

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With a career that spanned fourteen Best Picture nominations, director Sidney Lumet produced an incredible body of work that included American classics like “12 Angry Men” and “Network.” 

Sidney Lumet: A Life by Maura Spiegel
Sidney Lumet: A Life by Maura Spiegel

In Sidney Lumet: A Life, the first biography of the director, author Maura Spiegel maps his career from his early days off-Broadway to a successful run in television directing and, finally, to Hollywood, where Lumet directed names like Katherine Hepburn, Al Pacino, Philip Seymour-Hoffman and Paul Newman. Many of the films he became known for-- including “Serpico,” “The Verdict” and “Dog Day Afternoon” -- are deeply rooted in themes of disillusionment and morality. Often set in New York, Lumet’s films are marked by his quick directing style and his actors’ fevered, propulsively emotional deliveries. When Lumet died in 2011, he left us with some of the most significant psychological American films ever produced.

Today on AirTalk, author Maura Spiegel discusses Lumet’s life and legacy.


Maura Spiegel, author of the new book “Sidney Lumet: A Life” (MacMillan, 2019); professor of fiction and film and co-director of the Division of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University