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Mimi Leder

Mimi Leder

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Also Known As: Mimi I Leder Died:
Born: January 26, 1952 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: director, producer, script supervisor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Daughter of the late independent filmmaker Paul Leder, Mimi Leder was the first woman accepted to study cinematography at the American Film Institute. She began her career as a script supervisor, serving a six-year stint in that capacity for NBC's "Hill Street Blues", and performed the same duty for several TV-movies. The short film "Short Order Dreams", which she produced and directed, impressed the producers of NBC's "L.A. Law", and she made her TV directing debut with a 1986 episode of that hit series. Subsequently, Leder helmed episodes of "Crime Story" (NBC), "The Bronx Zoo" (NBC), "A Year in the Life" (NBC) and "Just in Time" (ABC), not to mention additional segments of "L.A. Law" and a half dozen TV-movies. She then served as supervising producer for "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-91), for which she also directed episodes.Leder's big break came when she worked on Amblin Television's highly successful drama "ER" (NBC), inaugurating her relationship with Steven Spielberg. She won two Emmys (one for directing, the other as co-executive producer) before Spielberg tapped her to make her feature debut, helming DreamWorks' first live-action feature "The Peacemaker" (1997), starring George Clooney and...

Daughter of the late independent filmmaker Paul Leder, Mimi Leder was the first woman accepted to study cinematography at the American Film Institute. She began her career as a script supervisor, serving a six-year stint in that capacity for NBC's "Hill Street Blues", and performed the same duty for several TV-movies. The short film "Short Order Dreams", which she produced and directed, impressed the producers of NBC's "L.A. Law", and she made her TV directing debut with a 1986 episode of that hit series. Subsequently, Leder helmed episodes of "Crime Story" (NBC), "The Bronx Zoo" (NBC), "A Year in the Life" (NBC) and "Just in Time" (ABC), not to mention additional segments of "L.A. Law" and a half dozen TV-movies. She then served as supervising producer for "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-91), for which she also directed episodes.

Leder's big break came when she worked on Amblin Television's highly successful drama "ER" (NBC), inaugurating her relationship with Steven Spielberg. She won two Emmys (one for directing, the other as co-executive producer) before Spielberg tapped her to make her feature debut, helming DreamWorks' first live-action feature "The Peacemaker" (1997), starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. Entrusted with the $50 million project, Leder brought the thriller in under budget thanks to her TV training.

Leder directed another big-budget film for DreamWorks, "Deep Impact" (1998), about an asteroid on a collision course with the earth, handed to her by a Spielberg who had originally intended to direct it himself. She followed with the very personal "Sentimental Journey" (lensing 1999), scripted by her brother Reuben based on a story written by her father before his death. The film tells the story of how Paul Leder, a soldier in Patton's army, met his wife Etyl, a survivor of Auschwitz.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Code, The (2008)
2.
  Pay it Forward (2000) Director
3.
  Deep Impact (1998) Director
4.
  Peacemaker, The (1997) Director
5.
  Baby Brokers (1994) Director
6.
  Woman With A Past (1994) Director
7.
  Innocent, The (1994) Director
8.
  House of Secrets (1993) Director
9.
  Marked For Murder (1993) Director
10.
  Rio Shannon (1993) Director

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1979:
Received credit as script supervisor on CBS docudrama "Dummy"
1980:
Served as script supervisor on Jerrold Freedman's feature "Borderline"
1981:
Worked a six-year stint as script supervisor on "Hill Street Blues"
1982:
Produced father's film "I'm Gonna Be Famous"
:
Produced and directed a short film "Short Order Dreams", which impressed the producers of "L.A. Law"
1986:
TV directorial debut with an episode of "L.A. Law"
1988:
Directed NBC movie "Nigtingales", a pilot for the short-lived 1989 series of the same name
:
Directed episodes of "Crime Story", "Bronx Zoo", "Just in Time", "A Year in the Life" and additional "L.A. Law" segments
:
Served as supervising producer for "China Beach"; also directed episodes of the series; won first Emmy nomination
:
Co-executive produced NBC's drama series "ER"; also directed episodes of the show
1997:
Feature film debut, "The Peacekeeper"
1998:
Helmed second feature, "Deep Impact"
2000:
Directed Oscar-winners Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt in "Pay It Forward"
2001:
Was one of the executive producers of "The Beast"
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Education

AFI Conservatory: Los Angeles , California -
Los Angeles City College: Los Angeles , California -
Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 1973 - 1975

Notes

Describing Leder's work on "ER": "Her camera had wings. I would spend 10 minutes watching a rough cut and say, 'This one belongs to Mimi Leder.'" --Steven Spielberg quoted in VANITY FAIR, September 1997

When asked if there was pressure directing DreamWorks' first film: "There was. [Long pause] There were moments when I thought, What am I doing here? But if I had thought about the fact that I was shooting a huge movie, the first DreamWorks movie, I would have become paralyzed emotionally. I didn't approach it that way. I took it scene by scene. It was the only way to do it without feeling the pressure. I'm not saying I didn't feel it." --Mimi Leder in PREMIERE, September 1997

"They [Spielberg and DreamWorks co-heads Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald] have all been very good to me. [They] have been very positive influences in my career and have been extremely supportive and encouraging. It's great when filmmakers are running a studio because it gives the filmmaker a unique dialogue that sometimes you can't have in other places where there is an executive hierarchy." --Leder to DAILY VARIETY, July 7, 1997

On the "Sentimental Journey" project that is close to her heart: "It's a testament to our parents' lives. It's about how our mother and father found each other. This is the story my father wanted to tell and now we are going to fulfil his dream." --Mimi Leder in DAILY VARIETY, July 7, 1997

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Gary Werntz. Actor. Married on February 6, 1986.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Paul Leder. Director, writer, producer. Born c. 1923 in Springfield, Massachusetts; died April 8, 1996 in L.A.
mother:
Etyl Leder. A prisoner at Auschwitz when she met her husband, a member of Patton's liberating forces.
brother:
Reuben Leder. Screenwriter, director. Older; born c. 1950.
sister:
Geraldine Leder. Casting director. Younger; born c. 1962.
daughter:
Hannah Werntz. Born c. 1986.
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