- Oct 8, 1952
- Chicago, Illinois
Born in the affluent, northeast Chicago suburb of Winnetka, Illinois, filmmaker/journalist Edward Zwick received his formal training in the cinematic arts at the AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles. After stints as a journalist and editor at The New Republic and Rolling Stone, Zwick worked on the hit ABC series Family as story editor, scripter, director and… More Bio:
Born in the affluent, northeast Chicago suburb of Winnetka, Illinois, filmmaker/journalist Edward Zwick received his formal training in the cinematic arts at the AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles. After stints as a journalist and editor at The New Republic and Rolling Stone, Zwick worked on the hit ABC series Family as story editor, scripter, director and producer. Launched in early March 1976, this low-key prime time soaper about the bourgeois, Pasadena-based Lawrence family - Doug (James Broderick), Kate (Sada Thompson), Nancy (Meredith Baxter-Birney), Willie (Gary Frank) and Buddy (Kristy McNichol) - became an instant hit and lasted several seasons, before wrapping in the summer of 1980.
After helming the made-for-TV screwball comedy Having it All (1982), starring Dyan Cannon, and the hit small screen meller Paper Dolls, a telemovie about a nepotistic, NY-based modeling and cosmetics dynasty (which spun off an unsuccessful series in fall 1984, to which Zwick was unconnected). Zwick teamed (in what would be the first in an endless series of collaborations) with Marshall Herskovitz, to co-produce the innovative 1983 telemovie Special Bulletin. This low-budget drama examines how a (South Carolina-based) local news station might respond to the imminent threat of a nuclear war by five terrorist protesters. Zwick directed, and to enhance the realism, shot the motion picture on video tape, consulting extensively with NBC news correspondents for technical advice.
In 1986, Zwick briefly struck out on his own as a director (independently of Herskovitz) with About Last Night..., a surprisingly soft-pedaled filmization of the David Mamet stage play Sexual Perversity in Chicago, adapted by Tim Kazurinsky and Denise DeClue, about the off-again, on-again romance of a couple of Windy City lovers, Danny and Debbie (played by former Brat Packers Rob Lowe and Demi Moore), as they are unduly influenced by two friends, the beer swilling, misogynistic hellraiser Bernie (Jim Belushi) and the icewater-veined misandrist "gal pal" Joan (Elizabeth Perkins). Produced for the newly-formed Tri-Star, the picture became an instant blockbuster.
Zwick's next major outing arose the following year, when he re-teamed with Herskovitz to produce, write and direct the hit ABC series thirtysomething. This ensemble dramedy documented the comings and goings of a bunch of young urban professionals in the Philadelphia area, including Michael (Ken Olin), Hope (Mel Harris), Elliot (Timothy Busfield), Nancy (Patricia Wettig, Melissa (Melanie Mayron), Ellyn (Polly Draper), Gary (Peter Horton) and Miles (David Clennon), as they balanced individual dreams with personal responsibilities. As a nearly perfect example of a series aimed at one exact demographic, thirtysomething swept "yuppie" viewers off of their feet and immediately attained a cult following, running for well over four seasons.
In 1989, Zwick directed the critically acclaimed drama Glory (from a script by Herskovitz and Kevin Jarre), and received a Golden Globe for his efforts. This ensemble period piece, about the first all-black regiment in the Civil War, with an A-list cast including Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick and Cary Elwes, grossed dollar one, won the hearts of critics, and reeled in a best picture nod - no small feat for a director's sophomore big screen outing, but completely unsurprising given Zwick's intelligence and pedigree. Unfortunately, the director's follow-up, the 1992 Leaving Normal, didn't fare nearly as well. This quirky, low-budget road comedy - about a waitress and a stripper who team up and leave their lives behind, hitting the highway to Alaska - was overshadowed by the similarly-themed and plotted Thelma and Louise the year prior.
Zwick bounced back, so to speak, (and returned to "period territory") with the 1994 picture Legends of the Fall, starring the formidable team of Anthony Hopkin
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