Director Robert Mulligan is shown in May attending the Library Foundation of Los Angeles 2005 Awards Dinner honouring Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, at the City National Plaza. Mulligan, who directed the film based on Lee's book, has died at 83. ((Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images))

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Robert Mulligan, perhaps best known for directing the acclaimed To Kill a Mockingbird, has died at age 83.

Mulligan died at his Connecticut home on Saturday after battling heart disease, according to his wife, Sandy.

Born in New York, the filmmaker was the older brother of actor Richard Mulligan, who died in 2000.

Mulligan is most often associated with To Kill A Mockingbird, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for his directing, while star Gregory Peck won the best-actor trophy for his turn as crusading lawyer Atticus Finch.

After studying journalism and literature in college, Mulligan started out with an entry-level position at CBS and worked his way up in television, eventually becoming a director of Emmy Award-winning TV movie dramas and live programs such as Studio One and Playhouse 90.

In the late 1950s, he branched out into films, helming dozens of titles. Because of his low-key style and self-effacing personality however, Mulligan didn't find the same fame as contemporaries like Sidney Lumet or John Frankenheimer.

However, over his career, he elicted a host of strong performances from a long list of actors, including:

  • Anthony Perkins in Fear Strikes Out.
  • Natalie Wood in Love with the Proper Stranger.
  • Ellen Burstyn in Same Time, Next Year.
  • Robert Redford in Inside Daisy Clover.
  • Richard Gere in Bloodbrothers.
  • Reese Witherspoon in her movie debut, The Man in the Moon, Mulligan's final film.
With files from the Associated Press