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“We thought it was good publicity,” Hellman said of Esquire’s problem in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 1999, when “Two-Lane Blacktop” finally aired on video. “Looking back, we wouldn’t have done it. I think it raised people’s expectations. They couldn’t accept the film for what it was. “

French film critics did and their enthusiasm spread to the United States. As the 1970s became a golden age for independent cinema, the reputation of the film and its director exploded. In 2005, the Cahiers du Cinéma review declared it “one of the greatest American films of the 1970s”.

Monte Himmelbaum was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on July 12, 1929, and raised in Albany, New York, where his father ran a small grocery store. When he was 6, the family moved to Los Angeles.

He majored in speech and theater at Stanford, where he conducted radio plays, and after graduating in 1951 studied film at UCLA At this time he changed his Last name.

In 1952, Mr. Hellman helped found the Stumptown Players, a summer theater company, in Guerneville, California. Carol Burnett was a member. He has made numerous productions and replaced as an actor as needed.

Her first marriage was to one of the actresses of the theater, Barboura Morris. The marriage ended in divorce. He got married three more times, his daughter said. He is survived by one brother, Herb; and two children, Melissa and Jared.

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