“He was the last great American director in the tradition of John Ford.” – Elliot Gould (M*A*S*H)
“What a gent, what a guy, what a great heart. Bob’s restless spirit has moved on. I have to say, when I spoke with him last week, he seemed impatient for the future. He still had the generous, optimistic appetite for the next thing, and we planned the next film, laughing in anticipation of the laughs we’d have.” – Meryl Streep (A Prairie Home Companion)
“There’s no one I’m prouder to have worked with. He was an ecstatic … a magician … a conjurer … a mischievous boy. He understood and could express that uniquely American shape-shifting goofiness more than anyone. He was the deepest ocean and the lightest feather at the same time. We all loved him so much.” – Richard Gere (Dr. T and the Women
“Robert Altman was a truly unique director and an extraordinary man. We are all saddened by this news and send our condolences to his wife Kathryn and family.” – Kevin Spacey (Resurrection Blues)
“He loved the chaos of shooting and the sociability of the crew and actors – he adored actors. … When he was working, he was in heaven.” – Garrison Keillor (A Prairie Home Companion)
“He was very good at letting actors think that they had more control than they actually did.” – Tommy Lee Jones (A Prairire Home Companion)
And finally, this quote from Bryan Wilson on A Prairie Home Companion sums up everything Robert Altman stood for as a director.
“When I heard Altman died I went out and bought this movie and I’ve been playing it as I written up this list. It’s simply lovely. That sums up just about everything that Altman had to say, and does so with a tender sense of conclusion. It is possibly the best, simplest, and loveliest last word that a filmmaker has ever had. Even the last shot is a strange and perfect coincidence; an angel of death comes through the camera almost like she’s coming for the director. It’s not stale though, it’s not indulgent self-love, it’s just wonderful, and it’s just Altman. I will miss him terribly, and despite the fact that he made movies for over 50 years, I still feel cheated, I want more. Like most Altman fans I’d give anything for a new film, though we all know now we’ll never get it. I can only be grateful, grateful for all the wonderful films that Altman left, grateful for the vision Altman brought to film, and grateful that he was allowed this wonderful piece of work to sum it all up.”