Stage, television and movie director, Arthur Penn has died. Penn died Tuesday night, the day after his 88th birthday.

Penn was arguably best known for his 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, which starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Bonnie and Clyde was awarded two Oscars in 1968 – Estelle Parsons won Best Supporting Actress and Burnett Guffey won Best Cinematography.

Bonnie and Clyde is credited with influencing a new age of American film directors -from Martin Scorsese to Francis Ford Coppola – to embrace the sensibility of 1960s European art films into their own work. Bonnie and Clyde paved the way for a slew of youth orientated, taboo breaking films, including The Graduate and Easy Rider. As well as Bonnie and Clyde, Penn amassed a critically acclaimed body of work throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1957, Penn was nominated for an Emmy for the television play The Miracle Worker, and in 1959 Penn won a Tony award for his revival of The Miracle Worker on Broadway.

As well as his work on stage and screen, Penn is also credited with possibly changing the course of American history. Penn directed Senator John F. Kennedy on how to work with the cameras during Senator Kennedy’s television debates with Richard Nixon in 1960. Penn’s instructions – look straight into the camera and keep his answers brief – gave Kennedy an air of confidence and calm.

Arthur Penn continued to work in television and film throughout his life and maintained an affinity with Yale – occasionally teaching classes at the university.
Although he was hospitalised in July 2009 with pneumonia, the cause of Arthur Penn’s death has not yet been disclosed. Arthur Penn is survived by his wife Peggy Maurer and their two children.

CLIP: The original trailer for Bonnie and Clyde

Words – Brogen Hayes