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|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|
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"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
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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
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