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Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

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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 ... producer executive director screenwriter restaurateur
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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. 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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