- Dec 18, 1946
- Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
The most commercially successful filmmaker in Hollywood history, Steven Spielberg was born December 18, 1946, in Cincinnati, OH. A lifelong cinema buff, he began directing his first short movies while still a child, later studying film at California State University and winning notice for his 1969 short feature Amblin'. He first made his mark in… More Bio:
The most commercially successful filmmaker in Hollywood history, Steven Spielberg was born December 18, 1946, in Cincinnati, OH. A lifelong cinema buff, he began directing his first short movies while still a child, later studying film at California State University and winning notice for his 1969 short feature Amblin'. He first made his mark in television, directing Joan Crawford in the pilot for Rod Serling's Night Gallery and working on episodes of Columbo and Marcus Welby, M.D. Spielberg's first feature-length effort, 1971's Duel, a taut thriller starring Dennis Weaver, was widely acclaimed as one of the best movies ever made for television.
Spielberg permanently graduated to feature films with 1974's The Sugarland Express, but it was his next effort, Jaws, which truly cemented his reputation as a rising star. The most successful film of 1975, this tale of a man-eating Great White shark was widely recognized as the picture which established the summer months as the film industry's most lucrative period of the year, heralding a move toward big-budget blockbusters which culminated two years later with his friend George Lucas' Star Wars. Spielberg's follow-up, 1977's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, was another staggering success, employing state-of-the-art special effects to document its story of contact with alien life.
With the 1979 slapstick-war comedy 1941, Spielberg made his first major misstep, as the star-studded picture performed miserably at the box office. However, he swiftly regained his footing with 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark. Produced by Lucas, the film was one of the biggest hits of the decade, later launching a pair of sequels as well as a short-lived television series. However, it was Spielberg's next effort which truly asserted his position as the era's most popular filmmaker: 1982's E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, the touching tale of a boy who befriends an alien, was hailed upon release as an instant classic, and became one of the most commercially successful movies of all time.
After 1984's Raiders of the Lost Ark sequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Spielberg went against type to direct The Color Purple, an adaptation of Alice Walker's much-honored novel exploring the lives and struggles of a group of African-American women during the Depression years. The film went on to gross over $100 million at the box office, later securing 11 Academy Award nominations. A 1987 dramatization of J.G. Ballard's novel Empire of the Sun was his next picture, and was one of his few box-office disappointments. A similar fate met the sentimental Always (1989), a remake of the wartime weeper A Guy Named Joe, but Spielberg returned to form with the same year's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
With 1991's 60-million-dollar production of Hook, Spielberg again fell victim to negative reviews and lackluster box-office returns, but in 1993 he returned with a vengeance with Jurassic Park. That same year, he released Schindler's List, an epic docudrama set during the Holocaust. The picture won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director honors.
As befitting his role as a major Hollywood player, Spielberg and his company, Amblin Entertainment, also produced a number of highly successful features, including 1982's Poltergeist, 1985's Back to the Future, and 1988's groundbreaking Who Framed Roger Rabbit? He also diversified into television, beginning in 1985 with the anthology series Amazing Stories and later supervising the animated series Tiny Toon Adventures and the underwater adventure Seaquest DSV. However, in the wake of Schindler's List, Spielberg's status as a power broker grew exponentially with the formation of Dreamworks SKG, a production company he headed along with former Disney chief Jeffrey Katzenberg and music mogul David Geffen; consequently, Spielberg spent much of the mid-'90s behind the scenes, serving as executive producer o
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