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Leon Gast

Leon Gast

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, USA Profession: documentarian, editor, photographer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Documentarian Leon Gast spent two months in Zaire and 22 years in editing rooms in order to create and complete "When We Were Kings", his 1996 documentary on the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman 'Rumble in the Jungle' heavyweight title bout and its profound affect on the African-American community. Originally intended to be a concert film, it evolved into a portrait of the youthful and popular Ali contrasted with the more subdued Foreman. Because of a postponement due to an injury to Foreman, the scheduled concert, headlined by James Brown and B B King, went on to nearly empty houses. Yet Gast kept his cameras rolling and ended up with some 300,000 feet of film. Over the years, he attempted to find financing to complete the film. Finally, with assistance from Taylor Hackford who suggested filming contemporary interviews with such notables as Norman Mailer and Spike Lee to frame the picture, Gast completed the documentary. After its premiere at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, "When We Were Kings" went on to win numerous critical prizes and the Best Documentary Feature Oscar.

Documentarian Leon Gast spent two months in Zaire and 22 years in editing rooms in order to create and complete "When We Were Kings", his 1996 documentary on the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman 'Rumble in the Jungle' heavyweight title bout and its profound affect on the African-American community. Originally intended to be a concert film, it evolved into a portrait of the youthful and popular Ali contrasted with the more subdued Foreman. Because of a postponement due to an injury to Foreman, the scheduled concert, headlined by James Brown and B B King, went on to nearly empty houses. Yet Gast kept his cameras rolling and ended up with some 300,000 feet of film. Over the years, he attempted to find financing to complete the film. Finally, with assistance from Taylor Hackford who suggested filming contemporary interviews with such notables as Norman Mailer and Spike Lee to frame the picture, Gast completed the documentary. After its premiere at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, "When We Were Kings" went on to win numerous critical prizes and the Best Documentary Feature Oscar.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Manny (2014)
2.
3.
  When We Were Kings (1996) Director
4.
  Hells Angels Forever (1983) Director
5.
  Grateful Dead, The (1977) Director
6.
  Salsa (1975) Director
7.
  Our Latin Thing (1972) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Plimpton! (2012)
2.
 Salsa (1975) Narration
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1960:
Dropped out of Columbia University to take job with TV series "High Adventure With Lowell Thomas" (date approximate)
:
Spent 1960s as still photographer for such magazines as ESQUIRE, VOGUE and HARPER'S BAZAAR
1972:
Directed documentary "Our Latin Thing"
1974:
Shot footage for what would eventually become "When We Were Kings"
1977:
With Jerry Garcia, co-directed documentary "The Grateful Dead"
1983:
Co-directed "Hells Angels Forever"
1993:
Co-produced and edited TV-movie "Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson" (NBC)
1997:
Theatrical release of "When We Were Kings"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Seton Hall University: South Orange , New Jersey -
Columbia University: New York , New York -

Notes

"For anybody doing anything, persistence, just persistence." --Leon Gast in DAILY VARIETY, January 25, 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Geri Gast.

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