- Gender: Male
- Birthday: 1927-08-11
- Day of Death: 2007-03-15 ( 80 years old )
- Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
- Also Known As: Alan Smithee
Stuart Rosenberg was an American film and television director whose notable works included the movies Cool Hand Luke (1967), Voyage of the Damned (1976), The Amityville Horror (1979), and The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984). He was noted for his work with actor Paul Newman.
Rosenberg was born in Brooklyn, New York City, the son of Sara (née Kaminsky) and David Rosenberg. He studied Irish literature at New York University in Manhattan, and began working as an apprentice film editor while in graduate school.
After advancing to film editor, he then transitioned into directing with episodes of the syndicated TV series Decoy (1957–59). It was the first police series on American television built around a female protagonist. Over the next two years, Rosenberg directed 15 episodes of the ABC police-detective series Naked City, also shot in New York City. Fifteen episodes of The Untouchables followed, eight of the anthology series Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, five of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and three of The Twilight Zone, along with episodes of Adventures in Paradise, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Ben Casey, Rawhide with Clint Eastwood, and Falk’s The Trials of O’Brien, among other shows. He won a 1963 Emmy Award for directing “The Madman”, one of his 19 episodes of the courtroom drama The Defenders.
Following the Lutheran-financed U.S.-German co-production Question 7 (1961), filmed in West Berlin, Germany, Rosenberg shot the 1965 TV-movie, Memorandum for a Spy and the 1966 telefilm Fame Is the Name of the Game before making his major-studio debut with the Paul Newman hit Cool Hand Luke (1967). Rosenberg had come across Donn Pearce’s chain gang novel and developed the film with actor Jack Lemmon’s production company, Jalem. Years later, Rosenberg would replace Bob Rafelson on another prison movie, Brubaker (1980) starring Robert Redford.
Other Rosenberg films include The April Fools (1969), with French actress Catherine Deneuve in her American debut opposite Jack Lemmon; the Newman movies WUSA (1970), Pocket Money (1972) and The Drowning Pool (1975); the Walter Matthau police-detective thriller The Laughing Policeman (1973); the Charles Bronson action picture Love and Bullets (1979); and another action movie Let’s Get Harry (1986), for which Rosenberg used the Directors Guild of America pseudonym Alan Smithee. He was famous for straight dramas and, especially, crime films. The most acclaimed movie he did after ‘Cool Hand Luke’ was The Pope of Greenwich Village with Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, and Daryl Hannah.
He made his last film, the independent drama My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, in 1991.
In 1993, Rosenberg became a teacher at the American Film Institute. Among his students were those who would go on to make names for themselves: Todd Field, Darren Aronofsky, Mark Waters, Scott Silver, Doug Ellin and Rob Schmidt.
Rosenberg died in 2007 of a heart attack at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was survived by his wife, Margot Pohoryles, whom he had met at NYU; son Benjamin Rosenberg, a first assistant director; as well as four grandchildren.
His students’ films The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Alphabet Killer, and The Wrestler that were released in 2008 were dedicated in memory of him.