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The Devastating Death Of John Korty

John Korty, an Emmy- and Oscar-winning filmmaker best known for his work on "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," died at the age of 85 on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He's survived by his wife Jane; siblings Doug and Nancy; and children Gabriel, David, and Jonathan. 

The Marin Independent Journal reported on his passing and how he died at his home located in Point Reyes Station in Marin County, California. He continued making local films well into his golden years. His wife told the Marin Independent Journal, "He loved the town of Point Reyes Station, and he was really happy living in this community."

Film critic Leonard Maltin once described Korty as "a principled filmmaker who has worked both outside and within the mainstream, attempting to find projects that support his humanistic beliefs." As the entertainment industry mourns a legend, read on as we remember his impressive body of work.

John Korty valued 'variety' in his work

John Korty was born in Lafayette, Indiana on July 22, 1936. He made amateur films when he was still a teenager, and while attending Antioch College, he took an interest in animation. His career would eventually take him to the world of film, and after moving to San Francisco, he made a series of low-budget movies, including "The Crazy Quilt," "Riverrun," and "Funnyman."

He eventually found mainstream success with the made-for-television film, "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," for which he won an Emmy. The 1974 movie also launched the career of Cicely Tyson, who passed away in January 2021. Korty went on to work on a number of other television and film projects, including a series of animated shorts for "Sesame Street" He would also go on to win an Oscar for 1977's "Who Are the DeBolts? And Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids?"

Korty never wanted to be pigeonholed to a single idea. As he stated in a 2011 interview to the Marin Independent Journal, "After 'Miss Jane Pittman,' I was offered all the films about old ladies, all the films about Black people, all the films that took place in the South. But I like variety. I like to go from comedy to serious films to animation. To me, my work is a kind of vacation, and I don't like to go to the same place over and over again."

The result is an eclectic body of work essential to watch for any cinephile. Our thoughts go out to Korty's family and friends at this time.