Steven Spielberg is a principal partner of DreamWorks SKG, which he co-founded with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen in October 1994 and which was sold to Paramount Pictures in early 2006. Under their leadership, the studio has enjoyed critical and commercial success, and has been responsible for some of the most honored films in recent years, including three consecutive Best Picture Academy Award® winners: "American Beauty," "Gladiator," and "A Beautiful Mind" (the latter two co-productions with Universal).
One of the industry's most successful and influential filmmakers, Spielberg has directed, produced, or executive produced some of the top-grossing films of all time, including "Jurassic Park" and "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial." Among his myriad honors, he is a three-time Academy Award® winner, earning two Oscars® for Best Director and Best Picture for "Schindler's List," and a third Oscar® for Best Director for "Saving Private Ryan."
A DreamWorks/Paramount co-production, the critically acclaimed World War II drama "Saving Private Ryan," starring Tom Hanks, was the highest-grossing release (domestically) of 1998. It was also one of the year's most honored films, earning five Oscars®, including the one for Spielberg as Best Director, as well as two Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture (Drama) and Best Director. Spielberg was also recognized by his peers with a Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award, and shared with the film's other producers in the Producers Guild of America's (PGA) Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Theatrical Motion Picture Producer of the Year. That year, the PGA also presented Spielberg with the prestigious Milestone Award for his historic contribution to the motion picture industry.
"Saving Private Ryan" also won Best Picture honors from the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, British and Broadcast Film Critics Associations, with the Los Angeles, Toronto and Broadcast Film Critics also naming Spielberg Best Director.
In 1994, Spielberg won two Academy Awards®, for Best Director and Best Picture, for the internationally lauded "Schindler's List," which received a total of seven Oscars®. The film also collected Best Picture honors from the major critics organizations, in addition to seven BAFTA Awards, including two for Spielberg. He also won the Golden Globe Award and received his second DGA Award.
Spielberg won his first DGA Award for his work on "The Color Purple." He has also been honored with Academy Award® nominations for Best Director for "Munich," "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Additionally, he earned DGA Award nominations for those films, as well as "Empire of the Sun," "Jaws" and "Amistad." With ten in all, Spielberg has received more DGA Award nominations than any director in history, and, in 2000, he received the DGA's Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute and the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In 2005, Spielberg directed two films - "War of the Worlds" and "Munich" - and was a producer on, "Memoirs of a Geisha." "War of the Worlds" starred Tom Cruise and was a contemporary retelling of H.G. Wells' classis futuristic novel. "Munich," a historical thriller set in the aftermath of the 1972 massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, earned five Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture and Best Director for Spielberg. The Universal/DreamWorks co-production starred Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, and Geoffrey Rush. "Memoirs of a Geisha," directed by Rob Marshall and based on the best-selling book by Arthur Golden won three Oscars® for Best Cinematography, Art Direction and Costume Design. Spielberg's other recent films include "The Terminal," starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and "Catch Me If You Can," starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Spielberg also wrote, directed and produced "A.I.," which was realized from the vision of the late Stanley Kubrick. In 2000, Spielberg won the Stanley Kubrick Brittania Award for Excellence in Film, presented by BAFTA - Los Angeles.
Born on December 18, 1946, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Spielberg was raised in the suburbs of Haddonfield, New Jersey and Scottsdale, Arizona. He started making amateur films while still in his teens, later studying film at California State University, Long Beach. In 1969, his 22-minute short "Amblin" was shown at the Atlanta Film Festival, which led to his becoming the youngest director ever to be signed to a long-term deal with a major Hollywood studio.
Four years later, he directed the suspenseful telefilm "Duel," which garnered both critical and audience attention. He made his feature film directorial debut on "The Sugarland Express" from a screenplay he co-wrote. His other earlier film credits as director include "Always," "Hook," and the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" sequels "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."
In 1984, Spielberg formed his own production company, Amblin Entertainment. Under the Amblin banner, he has served as producer or executive producer on more than a dozen films, including such successes as "Gremlins," "Goonies," "Back to the Future I, II, and III," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?," "An American Tail," "The Land Before Time," "The Flintstones," "Casper," "Twister," "The Mask of Zorro," "Men in Black" and "Men in Black II." Amblin Entertainment also produces the hit series "ER" with Warner Bros. TV.
Spielberg's other TV endeavors include executive producing with Tom Hanks the award-winning miniseries "Band of Brothers" for HBO and DreamWorks Television. Based on the book of the same name by the late Stephen Ambrose, the fact-based World War II project won both Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Miniseries. Also an Emmy winner for Best Miniseries was 2002's "Taken" which Spielberg executive produced for DreamWorks Television and The Sci-Fi Channel. In 2005, Spielberg and DreamWorks Television partnered with TNT to executive produce the 12-hour limited series "Into the West" which followed two multi-generational American and Native American families with each telling the dramatic stories of the development of the West from their distinct points of view. Coming in 2007 is "On the Lot," an unscripted series which will allow aspiring director/filmmakers to vie for a studio development deal at DreamWorks. "On the Lot" is produced by Mark Burnett Productions, DreamWorks Television and Amblin Television. The reality series, which will air on Fox, was created by Spielberg and Mark Burnett, who will also serve as executive producers.
Spielberg has also devoted his time and resources to many philanthropic causes. The impact of his experience making "Schindler's List," led him to establish the Righteous Persons Foundation using all his profits from the film. He also founded Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which has recorded more than 52,000 Holocaust survivor testimonies. Spielberg executive produced "The Last Days," the Shoah Foundation's third documentary, which won the Academy Award® in 1999 for Best Documentary Feature. In 2005, the Foundation's repository of testimonies were transferred to the University of Southern California. The new USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education will be dedicated to research and scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. In addition, Spielberg is the chairman emeritus of the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation, which combines the efforts of pediatric health care, technology and entertainment to empower seriously ill children.