The man behind the camera of classic American films including Tootsie and Out of Africa, Sydney Pollack, died of cancer at his Pacific Palisades home on Monday.

An acclaimed director and actor, Pollack was diagnosed with cancer nine months ago and died surrounded by his loved ones, his publicist Leslee Dart said.

The short list of Pollack’s Oscar-nominated films include Out of Africa, Tootsie, They Shoot Horses Don’t They and The Way We Were.

Pollack was just as at home in front of the camera, recently making an appearance playing George Clooney’s boss in last year’s Academy Award darling film, Michael Clayton.

His last film appearance was in the Patrick Dempsey comedy, Made of Honuor, currently in cinemas.

“Sydney made the world a little better, movies a little better and even dinner a little better. A tip of the hat to a class act,” Clooney said in a statement.

“He’ll be missed terribly.”

On the small screen, Pollack played the recurring part of Eric McCormack’s philandering father opposite Blythe Danner on Will and Grace.

He also appeared in The Sopranos, Frasier and Mad About You.

Well-loved and respected by his peers and colleagues, a host of actors and celebrities issued statements about Pollack upon learning of his death.

“We started together in New York and he always excelled at everything he set out to do, his friendships and his humanity as much as his talents,” Martin Landau, a longtime close friend and associate in the Actors Studio, said in a statement.

Pollack is survived by his wife, Claire; two daughters, Rebecca and Rachel; his brother Bernie; and six grandchildren.

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