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Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

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TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (2)

Also Known As: Steven Allan Spielberg Died:
Born: December 18, 1946 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA Profession: producer, executive, director, screenwriter, restaurateur

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

"A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" (2001), a $90 million sci-fi fable about a Pinocchio-like android boy. The film, which had long been attached to one of Spielberg's idols, Stanley Kubrick, boasted eye-popping visuals and fine performances from stars Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law. Even so, when all was said and done, "A.I." was considered a noble failure, earning only $78 million in its domestic release. Fortunately, Spielberg returned to top blockbuster form the following year when he adapted Phillip K. Dick's sci-fi novella, "Minority Report," a fast-paced, sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise. The leanest, meanest Spielberg film in years, "Minority Report" proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the aging director still had what it took to stand toe-to-toe with Hollywood's new generation of video game-inspired action directors.Spielberg cannily chose to follow-up that artistic and commercial triumph by helming a refreshingly more down-to-earth affair in the form of the light-hearted drama, "Catch Me If You Can" (2003). Based on the true-life story of con man Frank Abagnale, Jr., the film starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, respectively, as Abagnale and the F.B.I. agent assigned to capture him....

"A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" (2001), a $90 million sci-fi fable about a Pinocchio-like android boy. The film, which had long been attached to one of Spielberg's idols, Stanley Kubrick, boasted eye-popping visuals and fine performances from stars Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law. Even so, when all was said and done, "A.I." was considered a noble failure, earning only $78 million in its domestic release. Fortunately, Spielberg returned to top blockbuster form the following year when he adapted Phillip K. Dick's sci-fi novella, "Minority Report," a fast-paced, sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise. The leanest, meanest Spielberg film in years, "Minority Report" proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the aging director still had what it took to stand toe-to-toe with Hollywood's new generation of video game-inspired action directors.

Spielberg cannily chose to follow-up that artistic and commercial triumph by helming a refreshingly more down-to-earth affair in the form of the light-hearted drama, "Catch Me If You Can" (2003). Based on the true-life story of con man Frank Abagnale, Jr., the film starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, respectively, as Abagnale and the F.B.I. agent assigned to capture him. Not only did Spielberg succeed in flawlessly recreating the nostalgic innocence of the early 1960's setting, he also managed to coax out DiCaprio's most charming and mature performance to date. The director reteamed with Tom Hanks a third time for a seemingly unlikely project, "The Terminal" (2004) ¿ the tale of an Eastern European immigrant (Hanks) who, due to a political regime change and passport snafu, is forced to reside in a New York City airport terminal. Although the film had its share of wonderful moments, overall, it was regarded one of Spielberg's more artificial-feeling efforts.

Much more effective was Spielberg's riveting remake of the H.G. Wells sci-fi classic, "War of the Worlds" (2005). Adding a contemporary spin on the familiar tale, Spielberg cast Tom Cruise as a working class father who must step up and protect his two children during a horrific alien invasion. By year's end, Spielberg ¿ who had begun favoring a fast-paced production schedule for his projects ¿ launched into another of his long-gestating passion projects. The result was "Munich" (2005), a tense chronicle of revenge and retribution following the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. Working closely with two of the film's primary screenwriters, Eric Roth and, later, Tony Kushner, Spielberg took pains to craft a story that would offer a balanced look at the politically charged incident. Despite external criticisms over its politics and psychology, "Munich" succeeded as one of Spielberg's masterworks, utilizing all of his talents as a cinematic storyteller to dizzying effect. As the year came to a close, Spielberg seemed poised to open a new chapter in his career. Having reached the end of his run as a movie executive/businessman, Spielberg oversaw the sale of DreamWorks SKG to Paramount Pictures. The former, having failed to fully flower as a full-fledged movie studio, nevertheless made Spielberg, along with his partners, Katzenberg and Geffen, a tidy profit and freed him to once again focus on directing fulltime.

In 2007, industry trades announced Spielberg's next project would be a fourth installment of the much loved Indiana Jones series. Eighteen years after "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (1989), the new film re-teamed Spielberg with producer George Lucas and star Harrison Ford. Along for the ride were Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett as a new villain and Shia LeBeouf as Indy's son. Filming began in June 2007 for a 2008 release ¿ much to the pent-up anticipation of fans for almost two decades. When "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" finally premiered in May, fans turned out en masse, making it one of the biggest moneymakers of the year, despite less than stellar critical reviews. Meanwhile, Spielberg received the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2009 Golden Globe Awards after he was originally slated for the honor the year before, only to have the ceremony pushed back due to the Writers Guild of America strike in 2007.

After working once again with director Michael Bay to produce "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009), Spielberg reunited with Tom Hanks to serve as executive producer on "The Pacific" (HBO, 2010), an epic 10-part miniseries chronicling the bloody battles of Guadalcanal, Iwo Jim and Okinawa, as seen through the eyes of three U.S. Marines (Joseph Mazzello, James Badge Dale and Jon Seda). "The Pacific" was hailed by critics on its way to earning 24 Emmy Award nominations, including one for Outstanding Miniseries in 2010. The following year, he visibly served as a producer on the J.J. Abrams thriller "Super 8" (2011), which many critics saw as the younger director¿s personal ode to Spielberg. He also reunited with Bay to produce "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (2011) and collaborated with producer Peter Jackson on "The Adventures of Tintin" (2011), a motion-capture 3-D adventure that was the first installment of a proposed trilogy. Meanwhile, Spielberg returned to Academy Award contention with "War Horse" (2011), a sweeping historical epic about a young British lad (Jeremy Irvine) whose beloved horse is sold to the cavalry in France during World War I, sparking a long and extraordinary odyssey that tests the boundaries of loyalty and friendship.

Though nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, "War Horse" Spielberg went home empty handed. But such was not expected to be the case with his next film, "Lincoln" (2012), his long-awaited biography about the last months of the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis). Hailed for both its epic scope and a mesmerizing performance by Day-Lewis, the film entered awards season as an odds-on favorite. Spielberg first conceived of doing a film about Lincoln as far back as 1999, when historian Doris Kearns Goodwin told him about writing a biography on the 16th president. After snapping up the rights to the novel before it was published, Spielberg spent years developing on unsatisfactory draft of a script. Finally, while promoting "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," he announced that he was set to shoot in 2009, though the actual production was stalled for another two years. But his determination paid off as "Lincoln" earned universal praise from critics, with some going as far as to say it was one of the best biographies ever to be put to film. Not surprisingly, by year's end, Spielberg earned Golden Globe and Oscar nods for Best Director, while the film itself received Best Picture nominations. The director's next work was the Cold War espionage drama "Bridge of Spies" (2015), starring Tom Hanks and based on the real-life 1960 incident in which U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the USSR.

lm's success in defiance of the standard creative bookkeeping for the industry. Spielberg was slated to oversee the design of the studio's planned physical plant, laid out like a college campus on the old Howard Hughes aircraft site near the wetlands of Playa Vista, CA. However, after much back-and-forth debating, the Playa Vista site was scrapped and DreamWorks ended up being housed on the Universal lot, c xisting with Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment facilities. After a slow start, the mini-studio eventually came into its own with such hits as "American Beauty" (1999), "Gladiator" (2000), "Shrek" (2001), "A Beautiful Mind" (2001) and "Minority Report" (2002) ¿ all of which were either produced or co-produced by DreamWorks.

Still, directing continued to remain Spielberg's primary passion and he continued to explore the boundaries of his talents within a commercial context. Hoping to integrate his trademark crowd-pleasing sensibilities with bleaker, more philosophical views, Spielberg elected to make

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  BFG, The (2016)
3.
4.
  Lincoln (2012)
5.
  War Horse (2011)
8.
  War of the Worlds (2005) Director
9.
  Terminal, The (2004) Director
10.
  Minority Report (2002) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Milius (2013)
5.
 Paul (2011)
7.
8.
9.
 Double Dare (2003) Himself
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Made first 8mm (3 1/2 min.) film while in grade school; set up a tree-planting business to pay for film and equipment while in teens
1960:
Won first contest with 40-minute war film, "Escape to Nowhere" at age 13
1962:
Made first amateur 8mm feature film, "Firelight" at age 16; father hired local theater to screen film
1968:
Made professional debut with 24-minute short, "Amblin" (shown at Atlanta Film Festival)
1968:
Signed to seven-year contract as TV director with Universal-MCA
1969:
Made TV directing debut with the "Eyes" episode of the anthology series "Night Gallery"; segment starred Joan Crawford (NBC)
1973:
Wrote story for feature film "Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies"
1978:
First feature as executive producer, Robert Zemeckis's "I Wanna Hold Your Hand"
1979:
Flopped with the large-scale comedy "1941"
1980:
Made a cameo appearance as the Cook County Clerk at the end of John Landis's "The Blues Brothers"
1983:
Helmed the "Kick the Can" segment of "Twilight Zone ¿ The Movie"
1984:
Directed the sequel "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"
1985:
Created first TV series as executive producer, "Amazing Stories" (NBC)
1986:
Executive produced first animated feature "An American Tail"
1989:
Made TV acting debut as himself in a segment of "The Tracey Ullman Show" (Fox)
1989:
Served as a founding member and VP of the Artists Rights Foundation
1989:
Helmed "Always," a remake of the 1943 feature "A Guy Named Joe"; third film with Richard Dreyfuss
1991:
Helmed the lavish "Peter Pan" update "Hook" starring Robin Williams as a grown-up Peter and Dustin Hoffman as the title character
1992:
With wife Kate Capshaw, co-hosted "Shattered Lullabies" ¿ a documentary on high infant mortality rates in America; broadcast on Lifetime as an episode of "Your Family Matters"
1992:
Signed a one-year deal to produce "seaQuest DSV" a 22-episode series, a joint effort between Universal and Amblin Entertainment
1994:
Formed the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation to videotape the testimonies of Holocaust survivors
1995:
Announced that DreamWorks SKG would grant their filmmakers "moral rights" to protect the original versions of their films after release
1996:
Received story credit on the premiere episode of "High Incident," an ABC cop drama; the first hour-long dramatic series from DreamWorks; was reportedly involved with production, casting and operating a camera during portions of the pilot
1997:
Helmed the sequel "The Lost World: Jurassic Park"
1997:
Helmed "Amistad," a film based on a real-life 19th-century legal case involving slaves who staged a mutiny on the ship carrying them to North America; author Barbara Chase-Riboud claimed that the film's script was based in part on her book; subsequent threats of lawsuits and articles tainted film's release
2001:
Returned to filmmaking with "A.I. Artificial Intelligence," based on a story by the late Stanley Kubrick; also wrote screenplay
2001:
With Hanks, produced the HBO WWII miniseries "Band of Brothers"
2002:
With the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, served as presenter of "Broken Silence," a series of five documentaries about Holocaust survivors; aired on Cinemax
2002:
Served as a co-executive producer on Woody Allen's "Hollywood Ending"
2002:
Directed the sci-fi thriller "Minority Report," starring Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell
2002:
Executive produced the hit Sci-Fi Channel miniseries "Taken"
2002:
Reunited with Tom Hanks, who co-starred as an FBI agent pursuing the first teenager ever to make the Ten Most Wanted list (Leonardo DiCaprio) in "Catch Me If You Can"
2003:
Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
2004:
Again paired with Tom Hanks for "The Terminal"; also starred Catherine Zeta-Jones
2005:
Executive produced "Into the West," (TNT) a saga spanning 65 years of U.S. history from 1825 to 1890; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Miniseries
2005:
Once again collaborated with Tom Cruise for "War of the Worlds," a remake of the 1953 film, which chronicles a Martian invasion of Earth
2005:
Helmed "Munich," a film based on the book <i>Vengeance</i>; detailed the tragic aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics
2007:
Teamed with Mark Burnett for "On the Lot," an "American Idol"-meets- "The Apprentice" Fox reality series
2007:
Executive produced "Transformers," the live action film based on the franchise and toy line
2008:
Returned to direct the fourth installment of the adventure series "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," starring Harrison Ford in the title role
2009:
Re-teamed with Michael Bay (who directed) to produce the sequel "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
2010:
Re-teamed with Tom Hanks to executive produce HBO's 10-part miniseries "The Pacific," which earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Miniseries
2011:
Co-produced the J. J. Abrams directed thriller "Super 8"
2011:
Re-teamed with Michael Bay (who directed) to produce "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
2011:
Directed and produced "The Adventures of Tintin"
2011:
Directed the WWI-set drama "War Horse," based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and the 2007 stage adaptation of the same name
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Saratoga High School: Saratoga , California -
California State College: Long Beach , California - 1970

Notes

During a routine physical in February 2000, Spielberg's doctor discovered "an irregularity" that resulted in the director having to undergo surgery to remove one of his kidneys.

He was the owner of a sandwich shop in L.A. called Dive! While that outlet closed in 1999, a branch is Las Vegas remained open.

"I never felt comfortable with myself, because I was never part of the majority," Steven Spielberg said. "I always felt awkward and shy and on the outside of the momentum of my friends' lives. I was never on the inside of that. I was always on the outside.

"I felt like an alien. I always felt like I never belonged to any group that I wanted to belong to. Unlike Woody Allen, you know, I WANTED to become a member of the country club." --From "We Can't Just Sit Back And Hope" by Dotson Rader, Parade Magazine, March 27, 1994.

Received an honorary doctorate from USC May 6, 1994.

"Spielbergian images suffuse the planet's collective consciousness." --Nancy Griffin in her article "Manchild in the Promised Land" in Premiere, June 1989.

"Along with Scorsese, Spielberg shepherded the restoration of the Columbia Pictures classic (David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" 1962). Shortly after Dawn Steel inherited the top job at the studio from David Puttnam, Spielberg says, he marched into her office and said, 'You have to do this or I'll never make a picture for Columbia again.' When he viewed 'Lawrence' in all its original glory, it 'made me feel like going back to film school. One of the most intimidating things for anybody who takes himself seriously as a filmmaker is to sit in that theater and realize that so many of us have so far to go before we're able to recreate seven moments in a masterwork like that.'" --From "Manchild in the Promised Land" by Nancy Griffin in Premiere, June 1989.

"[Director Sidney] Lumet says, 'I just feel he is the most brilliant purely cinematic talent that I have seen. He is a thrilling, thrilling moviemaker.' He scoffs at Spielberg's detractors' judgment that he can't cut it with grown-up material. 'I'm sorry. That's bullshit,' says Lumet. 'Spielberg's talent is so rich, it's going to take him a lifetime to explore; he could go in so many directions.'" --From "Manchild in the Promised Land" by Nancy Griffin in Premiere, June 1989.

"After the final crescendo, when the last galloping rider has disappeared from the screen, he says softly, 'I'm going to miss looking into Harrison's eyes through the shadow of his fedora.'" --Spielberg remarking at the end of the scoring for "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" in "Manchild in the Promised Land" by Nancy Griffin in Premiere, June 1989.

"'Schindler's List' brings a preeminent pop mastermind together with a story that demands the deepest reserves of courage and passion. Rising brilliantly to the challenge of this material and displaying an electrifying creative intelligence, Mr. Spielberg has made sure that neither he nor the Holocaust will ever be thought of in the same way again. With every frame, he demonstrates the power of the film maker to distill complex events into into fiercely indelible images." --Janet Maslin, "Imagining the Holocaust to Remember It" in The New York Times, December 15, 1993.

"Its one identifiable Spielberg trademark is its total command of cinema; what's new is a seriousness of purpose and level of filmmaking fury not seen since the director's early works." --Mike Clark, "'Schindler's List' is Spielberg's Triumph" from USA Today, December 15, 1993.

"Schindler is also a touchingly obvious projection of Spielberg's own dreams of posterity, a man remembered above all for being a good boss, for being truly loved by his employees (the film is dedicated to Steve Ross, the late Time Warner chairman who was Spielberg's mentor). As Schindler says, he is a man who has made more money than anyone could spend in a lifetime, yet in making that money he has touched people's lives in a meaningful way--Schindler by drawing up his list, Spielberg by filming it. In Spielberg's happily capitalist world, profit motive is not the enemy of humanism but its spur." --Dave Kehr, "A Spielberg Check-'List'" (review of "Schindler's List"), Daily News, December 15, 1993.

"Spielberg was far more collaborative than I ever imagined he would be. He really wanted ideas and encouraged people to give their input. Everyone had told me he shoots fast and that was so true - it makes your head spin. I had also been told he is very technical, which I didn't find at all. He was far more of an actor's director." --Jude Law to The Daily Telegraph, February 17, 2001.

Awarded The Order of the Smile in 1993 by the older children of Poland for being a role model and hero; previous recipient was the Pope.

The Righteous Persons Foundation was established with Spielberg's earnings from "Schindler's List" to fund projects which impact on modern Jewish life (e.g. "to engage Jewish youth, to support the arts, to promote tolerance and to strengthen the commitment to social justice"). As of fall 1995, the foundation had made 30 grants totaling nearly $10 million. The organization projected to distribute more than $40 million over its first decade of existence.

Received an honorary doctorate from New York University in 1996.

Anonymously purchased Clark Gable's 1934 Oscar for a record $550,000 then donated it to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In April 1999, he donated $500,000 to USC's Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts.

Spielberg received the Defense Department Public Service Award on August 11, 1999

In January 2001, he recevied an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his extraordinary contributions to the entertainment industry.

"I don't think that 'Jaws' would do as well today as it did in 1975, because people would not wait so long to see the shark. Or they'd say there's too much time between the first attack and the second attack. Which is too bad. We have an audience now that isn't patient with us. They've been tought, by people like me, to be impatient with people like me." --Spielberg to The New York Times, June, 16, 2002.

Received an honorary doctrate degree from Yale University in 2002

"According to my mom, I'm such a big shot that she's threatening to have her uterus bronzed."---Spielberg People March 21, 1994

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Margot Kidder. Actor. Had realtionship in the early 1970s.
companion:
Sarah Miles. Actor. Had relationship in the early 1970s; Miles reportedly became pregnant and chose to have an abortion.
wife:
Amy Irving. Actor. Had on-again, off-again relationship from the late 1970s; married on November 27, 1985 in Santa Fe, New Mexico; divorced in 1989.
companion:
Holly Hunter. Actor. Had relation ship c. 1989.
wife:
Kate Capshaw. Actor. Married on October 12, 1991 at Spielberg's East Hampton, Long Island, New York estate; converted from Episcopalianism to Judaism c. 1993 after more than a year of study with an Orthodox rabbi.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Arnold Spielberg. Electrical engineer. Lost relatives in the Holocaust; involved in the early development of computers; born c. 1918; divorced from Spielberg's mother; remarried on April 6, 1997.
mother:
Leah Adler. Former concert pianist; restaurateur. Had four children with Arnold (Steven the youngest); married to second husband, Bernie Adler; they own a kosher dairy restaurant called The Milky Way on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles.
step-father:
Bernie Adler. Restaurateur. Married to Spielberg's mother.
step-mother:
Bernice Colner. Married Arnold Spielberg on April 6, 1997.
sister:
Anne Spielberg. Screenwriter, producer. Born on December 25, 1949; co-wrote and co-produced "Big" (1988).
sister:
Sue Spielberg. Born in 1953.
sister:
Nancy Spielberg. Born in 1956.
step-daughter:
Jessica Capshaw. Actor. Born in 1976; Kate Capshaw's daughter by a previous marriage.
son:
Max Spielberg. Born in June 1985; mother, Amy Irving; Spielberg and Irving share custody.
son:
Theo Spielberg. Born c. 1988; African-American; adopted by Capshaw before her marriage to Spielberg; adopted by Spielberg.
daughter:
Sasha Spielberg. Born in June 1990; mother, Kate Capshaw.
son:
Sawyer Spielberg. Born on March 10, 1992; mother, Kate Capshaw.
daughter:
Mikaela George Spielberg. Born on Feb. 28, 1996; adopted with Capshaw.
daughter:
Destry Allyn Spielberg. Born on Dec. 1, 1996; mother, Kate Capshaw.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Spielberg: The Man, the Movies, the Mythology"
"Steven Spielberg" Chelsea House Publishers
"Steven Spielberg: A Biography" Simon & Schuster
"Steven Spielberg" HarperCollins
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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