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Phil Alden Robinson

Phil Alden Robinson

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: March 1, 1950 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Long Beach, New York, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, TV newscaster

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

For Phil Alden Robinson, 1984 was a turning point in his career. The Long Island native had toiled for almost a decade, first as an on-air newscaster and later making educational and industrial films as well as commercials before he broke into the Hollywood mainstream with a pair of comic features, the box-office hit "All of Me" and the less than stellar pairing of Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone in "Rhinestone". According to the screenwriter, the experience of making the former was a rare case where the author was welcomed (undoubtedly in part because director Carl Reiner and star Steve Martin both had writing credits).Robinson honed his directorial skills steering two episodes of the CBS variety series "The George Burns Comedy Week" in the mid-1980s before eventually making his feature debut with "In the Mood" (1987), a pleasant if lightweight comedy-drama based on the real-life "Woo Woo Kid", a teenager who made headlines in the 1940s by running off with older women. By settling on the essential sweetness of those involved, Robinson made the film palatable, and his decision to recount the tale in semi-documentary style was also an intriguing choice. Two years later, he made what perhaps is his...

For Phil Alden Robinson, 1984 was a turning point in his career. The Long Island native had toiled for almost a decade, first as an on-air newscaster and later making educational and industrial films as well as commercials before he broke into the Hollywood mainstream with a pair of comic features, the box-office hit "All of Me" and the less than stellar pairing of Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone in "Rhinestone". According to the screenwriter, the experience of making the former was a rare case where the author was welcomed (undoubtedly in part because director Carl Reiner and star Steve Martin both had writing credits).

Robinson honed his directorial skills steering two episodes of the CBS variety series "The George Burns Comedy Week" in the mid-1980s before eventually making his feature debut with "In the Mood" (1987), a pleasant if lightweight comedy-drama based on the real-life "Woo Woo Kid", a teenager who made headlines in the 1940s by running off with older women. By settling on the essential sweetness of those involved, Robinson made the film palatable, and his decision to recount the tale in semi-documentary style was also an intriguing choice. Two years later, he made what perhaps is his best-known feature film, "Field of Dreams" (1989), adapted from the novel "Shoeless Joe" by W.P. Kinsella. The film's combination of baseball, fantasy and nostalgia proved irresistible to American audiences and critics alike, generating over $60 million at the box-office and netting an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Robinson was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, a Writers Guild Award and a Directors Guild Award. Deliberately taking time off from Hollywood, several years passed before he returned to features with "Sneakers" (1992), a mild and amusing tale of intrigue in the world of high security, for which he received less critical acclaim but a generally favorable and popular audience reception.

Again moving away from the limelight, Robinson accompanied the United Nations High Commission for Refugees as an observer on humanitarian missions to Bosnia and Somalia in the early 90s. Those trips rekindled his journalistic spirit and served as the basis of a series of five documentaries, some of which were aired on the ABC News program "Nightline". Having previously spent time researching the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Robinson wrote and directed the acclaimed TV-movie "Freedom Song" (TNT, 2000). Like "Field of Dreams", the central relationship of "Freedom Song" revolved around a father-son bond, although it did not overshadow the historical importance of the Civil Rights Movement. Robinson subsequently helmed an episode of the Tom Hanks-Steven Spielberg HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" (2001) before returning to the big screen as director of "The Sum of All Fears" (lensed 2001), based on Tom Clancy's novel, with Ben Affleck assuming the role of Jack Ryan.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Sum of All Fears, The (2002) Director
3.
  Freedom Song (2000) Director
4.
  Sneakers (1992) Director
5.
  Field Of Dreams (1989) Director
6.
  In the Mood (1987) Director

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

:
Wrote and directed training films for the U.S. Air Force
1974:
Worked as a TV newscaster in Schenectady, New York
:
Made industrial films and commercials; also worked in radio
1979:
Wrote two episodes for "Trapper John, M.D." (CBS)
1983:
First screenplay to go into production, "All of Me" (released September 1984)
1984:
First film to be released, "Rhinestone" (co-writer; also provided story and penned a song); released theatrically in June
1985:
Made directorial debut with two episodes of the CBS variety series "The George Burns Comedy Week"
1987:
Feature directorial debut with "In the Mood"; also wrote screenplay, co-conceived the story and wrote one of the songs
1989:
Penned the screenplay for and directed the Oscar-nominated Best Picture "Field of Dreams"; received Academy Award nomination for script
1992:
Wrote and directed the comedy thriller "Sneakers"
1992:
Accompanied United Nations High Commission for Refugees to Bosnia and Somalia; made five documentaries drawn from those experiences that were presented on ABC's "Nightline"
2000:
First produced project in eight years, the based-on-fact civil rights-themed TV-movie "Freedom Song" (TNT); wrote, directed and served as executive producer
2001:
Helmed an episode of the HBO WWII drama "Band of Brothers"
:
Directed "The Sum of All Fears" (lensed 2001), the fourth film to feature the character of Jack Ryan (now played by Ben Affleck) and based on the Tom Clancy novel
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Education

Union College: Schenectady , New York - 1971

Notes

"I am a world-class procrastinator." --Phil Alden Robinson in an e-mail interview with Robert J Elisberg posted at the Writers Guld of America Web site (www.wga.org/craft/interviews/robinson.html)

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