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Todd Solondz

Todd Solondz

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Happiness: Signature Series... The desire for happiness clouds everyone's judgement in Todd Solondz incredibly... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Welcome To The Dollhouse... Not every girl plays with dolls. Follow the painful path of Heather Matarazzo,... more info $19.99was $19.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died:
Born: October 15, 1959 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Newark, New Jersey, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, actor, teacher (ESL), messenger

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Thanks to a series of independent films that cumulatively could be best described as disturbing, writer-director Todd Solondz courted controversy and outrage among audiences and critics while leaving an indelible mark upon the filmmaking world. Solondz made his official debut following a debacle first film with "Welcome to the Dollhouse" (1995), a heartbreaking yet hilarious chronicle of junior high school life as seen through the eyes of a put-upon young girl. This auspicious debut garnered the filmmaker much attention, which he parlayed into his next film, "Happiness" (1998), a truly dark and twisted film that generated controversy and scorn, mainly due to his sympathetic presentation of a pedophile. Regardless of its hard-to-stomach elements, "Happiness" forced audiences and critics to take note. But Solondz squandered any leftover goodwill from "Welcome to the Dollhouse" with "Storytelling" (2002), which caused critics to lash out over his alleged disdain for his characters - a criticism he wholeheartedly embraced. He confused the few moviegoers who saw his nearly self-financed "Palindromes" (2004), an avant-garde dramedy that focused on a lead character played by 10 different actors of varying...

Thanks to a series of independent films that cumulatively could be best described as disturbing, writer-director Todd Solondz courted controversy and outrage among audiences and critics while leaving an indelible mark upon the filmmaking world. Solondz made his official debut following a debacle first film with "Welcome to the Dollhouse" (1995), a heartbreaking yet hilarious chronicle of junior high school life as seen through the eyes of a put-upon young girl. This auspicious debut garnered the filmmaker much attention, which he parlayed into his next film, "Happiness" (1998), a truly dark and twisted film that generated controversy and scorn, mainly due to his sympathetic presentation of a pedophile. Regardless of its hard-to-stomach elements, "Happiness" forced audiences and critics to take note. But Solondz squandered any leftover goodwill from "Welcome to the Dollhouse" with "Storytelling" (2002), which caused critics to lash out over his alleged disdain for his characters - a criticism he wholeheartedly embraced. He confused the few moviegoers who saw his nearly self-financed "Palindromes" (2004), an avant-garde dramedy that focused on a lead character played by 10 different actors of varying ages, races and genders, while handling tough subjects like abortion, child molestation and statutory rape. But by the time he directed "Life During Wartime" (2010), a companion piece to "Happiness," Solondz had re-emerged as a hailed filmmaker once again, back in the good graces of critics and audiences.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Palindromes (2004) Director
3.
  Storytelling (2001) Director
4.
5.
  Happiness (1995) Director
6.
8.
  Schatt's Last Shot (1985) Director
9.
  Feelings (1984) Director
10.
  Babysitter (1984) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 As Good As it Gets (1997) Man On Bus
2.
 Fear, Anxiety, and Depression (1989) Ira Ellis
3.
 Married To The Mob (1988) The Zany Reporter
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Milestones close milestones

:
Moved with family from Newark to suburban Livingston, New Jersey in the 1960s
:
Moved to Los Angeles; worked as a messenger at the Writers Guild while writing screenplays
:
Moved to New York City and enrolled at New York University
1984:
Wrote and directed first student short, "Feelings," at NYU
1984:
Wrote and directed second student short, "Babysitter," at NYU
1985:
Wrote and directed his breakthrough 12-minute student film, "Schatt's Last Shot"
1986:
Debuted the short, "How I Became a Leading Artistic Figure in New York City's East Village Cultural Landscape," on NBC's "Saturday Night Live"
1988:
Made feature acting debut playing a bit part as the Zany Reporter in Jonathan Demme's "Married to the Mob"
1989:
Featured as an interview subject on "SST: Screen, Stage, Television," an ABC documentary special about show business stories
1989:
Wrote, directed and starred in debut feature, "Fear, Anxiety, and Depression"
1994:
Wrote, produced and directed the indie hit, "Welcome to the Dollhouse"; first shown at Toronto International Film Festival (released theatrically in March 1996)
1997:
Made cameo appearance as a bus passenger in James L. Brooks' "As Good As It Gets"
1998:
Helmed the controversial, "Happiness," a searing character study of three sisters and the men and women in their lives
2001:
Premiered fourth feature, "Storytelling," at the Cannes Film Festival (released theatrically in 2002)
2004:
Helmed the unrated film, "Palindromes"
2009:
Wrote, produced and directed, "Life During Wartime"
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay ("Life During Wartime")
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Yale University: New Haven , Connecticut - 1981
New York University: New York , New York - 1985

Notes

"He looks like Woody Allen, sounds like E.T., and thinks like Harvey Weinstein." --unidentified Hollywood agent describing Solondz, quoted in THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, June 3, 1996

Solondz on Universal's refusal (on the grounds of moral outrage) to release "Happiness" through its subsidiary October Films: "It's not based on morality; I don't think they've ever operated on that basis. Universal considered how large an audience there is for a movie like this and is it worth all the flak for a movie that is going to make so little money? If the movie somehow made $50 million, I'm sure they would reconsider." --From USA TODAY, October 21, 1998

"Sometimes I've been accused of a certain kind of misanthropy, but I don't think that's fair or accurate. I think it's only by accepting and embracing people for all their flaws and foibles that one can, in fact, really embrace all of who we are." --Solondz quoted in BOSTON HERALD, October 26, 1998

Family close complete family listing

father:
Philip Solondz. Worked in construction business.
mother:
Gaby Solondz.
sister:
Lori Solondz. Artist, art director. Born c. 1955; resides in Paris, France; art director on "Welcome to the Dollhouse" (1996).

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