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Michael Ritchie

Michael Ritchie

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Also Known As: Alan Smithee, Michael Brunswick Ritchie Died: April 16, 2001
Born: November 28, 1938 Cause of Death: prostate cancer
Birth Place: Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA Profession: director, writer, producer, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Wisconsin-born, California-raised Michael Ritchie gained early directorial experience as an undergraduate at Harvard, staging the original production of classmate Arthur Kopit's "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad" in 1960. Following graduation he worked in series TV, directing episodes of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and "Dr. Kildare". Ritchie's first feature, "Downhill Racer" (1969), starring Robert Redford, was noted for its gripping skiing sequences, shot with hand-held 16mm cameras. His third film, "The Candidate" (1972), also starred Redford, and it remains one of the finest cinematic excoriations of the American political system.

Wisconsin-born, California-raised Michael Ritchie gained early directorial experience as an undergraduate at Harvard, staging the original production of classmate Arthur Kopit's "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad" in 1960. Following graduation he worked in series TV, directing episodes of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and "Dr. Kildare". Ritchie's first feature, "Downhill Racer" (1969), starring Robert Redford, was noted for its gripping skiing sequences, shot with hand-held 16mm cameras. His third film, "The Candidate" (1972), also starred Redford, and it remains one of the finest cinematic excoriations of the American political system.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Fantasticks, The (2000) Director
2.
  Simple Wish, A (1997) Director
3.
  Cops And Robbersons (1994) Director
4.
  Scout, The (1994) Director
6.
  Diggstown (1992) Director
7.
  Fletch Lives (1989) Director
8.
  Couch Trip, The (1988) Director
9.
  Golden Child, The (1986) Director
10.
  Wildcats (1986) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Innocent Blood (1992) Night Watchman
3.
 Robert Redford (2002) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born in Wisconsin
:
Raised in the Berkeley, California, area, where his father taught psychology
1960:
While at Harvard, staged first production of classmate Arthur Kopit's play "Oh Dad, Poor, Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad"
:
Began career as assistant to Robert Saudek on the Ford Foundation's "Omnibus" TV series
1964:
Graduated to associate producer and director on "Profiles in Courage" series, executive produced by Saudek
:
Worked as a TV director in the late 1960s on series including "Felony Squad", "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", "The Big Valley" and "Dr. Kildare"
1967:
Helmed the pilot for the NBC series "The Outsider"
1969:
First feature film as director, "Downhill Racer", starring Robert Redford as a champion ski racer
1972:
Reteamed with Redford as director of the politically-themed comedy-drama "The Candidate"
1975:
First film as producer, "Smile", an underrated satirical look at beauty pageants; also directed
1976:
Enjoyed a box-office hit with the comedy "The Bad News Bears", about an inept Little League team
1977:
Directed the enjoyable and successful football-themed movie "Semi-Tough"
1978:
Helmed the inevitable sequel, "The Bad News Bears Go to Japan"
1980:
Produced and directed the feature film "Divine Madness", adapted from Bette Midler's highly successful concert tour
1983:
Directed the comedy "The Survivors"
1985:
Helmed the film adaptation of the popular detective novel "Fletch"; first of four films with Chevy Chase
1986:
Returned to sports-themed comedy with "Wildcats", about a female coaching a football squad
1986:
Directed the Eddie Murphy vehicle "The Golden Child"
1988:
Reunited with comic actor Chevy Chase for "The Couch Trip"
1989:
Helmed the disappointing sequel "Fletch Lives", starring Chase
1992:
Played a small role as a night watchman in John Landis's feature, "Innocent Blood"
1993:
Returned to the small screen to direct the acclaimed, award-winning HBO movie "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom"
1994:
Last feature with Chevy Chase, "Cops & Robbersons"
1994:
Once again returned to sports-themes with "The Scout", about a professional baseball scout who discovers a talented young pitcher
1997:
Last directorial effort, "A Simple Wish"
1997:
Directed the unsold pilot "Comfort, Texas"
1999:
Helmed episodes of Showtime's "Beggars and Choosers", a behind-the-scenes look at the running of a TV network
2000:
Final released film, an adaptation of the long-running Off-Broadway musical "The Fantasticks" (filmed in 1995); also produced
2000:
Final TV work, directed episodes of the short-lived NBC series "Deadline"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Harvard University: Cambridge , Massachusetts - 1960
Harvard University: Cambridge , Massachusetts - 1960

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Georgina Ritchie. First wife; mother of Ritchie's three older children.
wife:
Jimmie Ritchie. Architect. Second wife; mother of Ritchie's two youngest daughters.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Benbow Ferguson Ritchie. Educator. Taught experimental psychology at UC, Berkeley from 1950 to 1977; died on February 23, 1998 at age 85.
mother:
Patricia Ritchie. Librarian.
sister:
Elsie Ritchie. Born in October 1953.
brother:
John Benbow Ritchie. Born in August 1955.
step-daughter:
Nelly Bly. Mother, Jimmie Ritchie.
step-son:
Billy Bly. Mother, Jimmie Ritchie.
daughter:
Lauren A Ritchie. Born in 1966; mother, Georgina Ritchie.
son:
Steven P Ritchie. Born on February 28, 1973; twin of Jessica; mother, Georgina Ritchie.
daughter:
Jessica A Ritchie. Born on March 1, 1973; twin of Steven; mother, Georgina Ritchie.
daughter:
Lillian Ritchie. Born in July 1986; mother, Jimmie Ritchie.
daughter:
Miriam Rose Ritchie. Born in December 1988; mother, Jimmie Ritchie.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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