Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg was an iconic American filmmaker whose wide body of work was thoroughly embraced by both mainstream audiences and critics throughout his long and prolific career. Having made a number of modern classics, going all the way back to 1975's "Jaws," Spielberg was universally regarded by both his peers and film historians as one of the greatest American filmmakers in the history of the medium. Born in Cincinnati and raised primarily in Phoenix, Arizona, Spielberg began making super 8 shorts films when he was still in his teens. At 16 he made his first feature length film, the science fiction adventure film "Firelight" (1963), which would later serve as the inspiration for his future masterwork "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977). Wanting to do nothing else with his life but make movies, Spielberg left Arizona at 18 to attend film school in Los Angeles. He was denied entry into the prominent film program at USC due to his C average, so Spielberg applied to and was admitted into California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). Spielberg dropped out of CSULB after a year, however, after he was signed to a 7-year TV directing contract with Universal based on the strength of his short film "Amblin'" (1968). Spielberg directed a number of television shows while under contract at Universal, but it was his 1971 made-for-TV road thriller "Duel" that proved to be the break he needed to make the leap into movies. After the success of "Duel," Spielberg directed the critically acclaimed crime drama "Sugarland Express" (1974), which starred Goldie Hawn. It was his next film about a renegade great white shark off the coast of a New England resort town that would make the phrase "blockbuster" practically synonymous with Spielberg's name. Released in the summer of 1975, "Jaws," which was made for $9 million dollars, grossed over $470 million at the box office, making it one of the most financially successful films ever, up until that point. The film was also nominated for Best Picture and took home three Academy Awards. For Spielberg, the massive success of "Jaws" would prove to be just the start of one of the most charmed filmmaking careers in Hollywood history. Over the next several decades he directed a wide array of universally beloved films that are now considered modern classics. These films include, but are not limited to: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), "Schindler's List" (1993), "Jurassic Park" (1993) "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), "Minority Report" (2002), and "Lincoln" (2012). In addition to directing, Spielberg was also a prolific producer. Throughout his six decades in show business, Spielberg produced over 150 film and television projects. Furthermore, he's also taken home three Academy Awards, and has received scores of other nominations for his film and television work. In 2018 Spielberg directed his 32nd feature length film, "Ready Player One." The film was an adaption of a popular 2011 science fiction novel by Ernest Cline, and was well-received by both critics and audiences.