You may not know the name Polly Platt, but you sure know the movies that this art director-turned-producer had a hand in. The Last Picture Show. Paper Moon. Broadcast News. Terms of Endearment. Say Anything. Bottle Rocket. Oh, yes, and she brought Matt Groening to James L. Brooks to make The Simpsons.
"Movies are a team sport, and she made teams function," eulogized Brooks yesterday of the woman whose eye, ear and taste were so instrumental in the success of his own films as well as those of Peter Bogdanovich (her first husband), Cameron Crowe and Wes Anderson.
Anne Thompson describes Platt, a dynamo felled by Lou Gehrig's disease, as a "driving force" on movies. There is no job description for her considerable creative talents. Part art director (the first woman in the Art Director's Guild), part dramaturge, part mentor, she occupied a singular role on many of the most memorable films of the past 40 years. She was irrepressible. She is irreplaceable. She is The Godmother of Hollywood humanism. She was an artist whose art was to make people greater artists.
There was such a thing as the Platt touch: Lived-in sets and lived-in characters, emotionally messy and passionate. Her involvement with directors (she worked on the first features of Bogdanovich, Brooks, Crowe and Anderson) had a steroidal impact on their careers.