Stage and screen director Gene Saks died of pneumonia this past Saturday in East Hampton, NY at the age of 93. Saks is most noted for turning Neil Simon’s most famous plays into broadway hits and box office successes. An actor-turned-director, Saks excelled at banter-based comedy — the quicker, the quippier, the better. That said, he was also a master of the bittersweet, from the wistful romance of Barefoot in the Park (1967) to the prickly nostalgia of Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986). To be impressed by Saks’ brilliant modulation of mood and humor, one need look no further than the opening sequences of The Odd Couple (1968) featuring Jack Lemmon and Walther Matthau. From suicidal sorrow to literally pokerfaced wit and back to suicide in a half-hour, Saks made it look easy.