Famed director Robert Altmanhas died age 81.

His New York-based Sandcastle5 Productions told the Associated Press that Altman died Monday night but didn'tdisclose the cause of death.

A multiple best directorOscar nominee, Altman received an honorary Academy Award earlier in 2006 forhis body of work, which includes MASH, Nashville, The Player, Gosford Park and Short Cuts.

His latest film is A Prairie Home Companion, a comedy starringWoody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan andJohn C Reilly in the backstage story of Garrison Keillor's fictitious radiovariety show.

During his Oscar acceptancespeech in March, Altman said: "No other filmmaker has gotten a better shakethan I have. I'm very fortunate in my career. I've never had to direct a film Ididn't choose or develop. I love filmmaking. It has given me an entree to theworld, and the human condition and for that I'm forever grateful."