Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, IL
Began making 8mm films in high school
Met future writing partner Bob Gale at USC
Directed first "professional" short "The Lift," an 8-minute student film
Made award-winning 14-minute student film "A Field of Honor"
Screened "A Field of Honor" for Steven Spielberg and John Milius, who helped him and Gale get a development deal for an original screenplay that became "1941"
Feature film directorial debut," I Wanna Hold Your Hand"; also co-wrote script with Gale
Co-wrote with Gale "1941," a sprawling comedy directed by Steven Spielberg
Helmed the comedy "Used Cars"
Enjoyed box-office hit as director of the adventure love story "Romancing the Stone"
With Gale, co-wrote the blockbuster "Back to the Future"; also directed
TV directing debut, "Go to the Head of the Class," an episode of "Amazing Stories"
Directed the live-action and animated combination "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"
TV producing debut as one of the co-executive producers of "Tales From the Crypt," an HBO horror anthology series
Helmed the sequels "Back to the Future II" (1989) and "Back to the Future III" (1990) back to back
TV acting debut, "Parker Lewis Can't Lose!," a Fox sitcom that featured his then-wife Mary Ellen Trainor
Feature debut as executive producer, "The Public Eye"
Directed the black comedy "Death Becomes Her," featuring Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn
Scripted and executive produced "Trespass," helmed by Walter Hill
Produced first network TV series, "Johnny Bago," a CBS adventure-comedy series
Created and produced "Tales from the Cryptkeeper," an ABC animated series
Directed box office hit "Forest Gump," starring Tom Hanks; film won eight Academy Awards, including Best Director
Was one of the executive producers of the feature "Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight"
Helmed the screen adaptation of Carl Sagan's book "Contact"; also produced
Served as a producer on the remake of "The House on Haunted Hill"
Made "Robert Zemeckis on Smoking, Drinking and Drugging in the 20th Century: In Pursuit of Happiness" for Showtime
Reunited with Tom Hanks as producer and director of "Cast Away"; filmed over a stretch of time in 1999-2000 with a break for Hanks to lose weight
During break from filming "Cast Away," produced and helmed the thriller "What Lies Beneath," starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer; film released before "Cast Away"
Helmed the animated feature "The Polar Express" starring Tom Hanks in several roles
Helmed the big-budget film version of "Beowulf," using the performance-capture technology utilized for "The Polar Express"
Wrote, directed and produced the animated adaptation of "A Christmas Carol"; Jim Carrey played several roles, including Ebenezer Scrooge
Returned to live action features as director and producer of "Flight," a drama starring Denzel Washington