Actress Marlee Matlin has led tributes to Emmy Award-winning director Joseph Sargent after learning of the 89-year-old filmmaker's death.

The Oscar-winning star took to Twitter.com to honour one of her moviemaking icons, revealing Sargent was "sweet and gentle" when he directed her and Jeff Daniels in 2008 Tv movie Sweet Nothing in My Ear.

Sargent, real name Giuseppe Danielle Sorgente, began his career as an actor but turned his hand to directing in the mid-1950s.

He was best known for directing 1974's The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, while his other popular feature films include Jaws: The Revenge, MACArthur and Nightmares.

His Tv directing credits include episodes of Star Trek, Lassie and The Invaders, as well as acclaimed cable Tv specials Something The Lord Made and Warm Springs.

He was nominated for a number of accolades and won four Emmy Awards. In 2005 Sargent was presented with the Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement prize.

He is survived by his daughters, anime voice artist Lia Sargent, Athena Sargent and actress wife, Carolyn Nelson Sargent.