Steven Spielberg is an American director, screenwriter and producer. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on December 18, 1946, he is nicknamed “The Entertainment King”. In the late 1960s, he joined the new Hollywood motion picture movement as did other contemporary directors such as Brian de Palma, Francis Ford Coppola or Georges Lucas.
He thus contributes to the modernization of American cinema. With fundamental works such as Jaws and E.T., he has become, in a few years, a true pioneer of science fiction in cinema. His technical skills, his camera effects and his high creativity make Steven Spielberg an important personality of the Seventh Art. Today we tell you his biography and the films of him to celebrate his 76th birthday.
Steven Spielberg and the vocation for cinema
Steven Spielberg is the only boy in a family of four. His mother is a pianist. His father, a computer engineer, is the creator of the BASIC programming language at the origin of contemporary computer science. From an early age, the young Spielberg fell in love with cinema. He made his first film at the age of twelve, a short film called The Last Gun.
Failing to enter the major film schools due to low school results, he continued his theater studies. The cause of these poor results was the dyslexia that has never been diagnosed until recently. He remembers: “I haven’t been able to read for almost two years-he said-I was two years behind my class. I was embarrassed to stand up and read in front of everyone.”
His passion for cinema, however, did not die out and at the same time he continued to learn the profession as a self-taught. After a few short films, including Amblin (1968) which received numerous awards, Steven Spielberg signed a seven-year contract with the Universal TV studio.
But with the studies it was not over yet. Steven Spielberg resumed his studies late and received a diploma in film studies from the University of California in 2002 at the age of 55. It’s never too late!
From his beginnings at Universal, the young prodigy has impressed with his technical mastery and the quality of his work. In particular, he directed several episodes of iconic American series of the 70s, such as Night Gallery and Columbo.
However, it was the TV movie Duel (1971) that gave Spielberg his first reward: the Grand Prize at the first Avoriaz International Fantastic Film Festival in 1973. Such success was that a longer version was released. in cinemas. Spielberg goes from small to big screen in a few years.
In 1974, Spielberg shot his first feature film, Sugarland Express. Despite the honors, the film does not meet its audience. However, this film marks the beginning of the collaboration between the director and composer John Williams, who still accompanies him in his projects today. The next film, Jaws (1975) is a textbook case of the perfect symbiosis between directing and the power of Williams’ stubborn musical theme.
Simple and terribly effective. In this feature, Spielberg draws inspiration from a method used by his favorite director, Alfred Hitchcock, the shocked roundup, to create a heartbreaking atmosphere. The film was a real box office success: it became one of the most profitable of the 1970s, far exceeding the producer’s forecasts. Success was confirmed in 1977 with Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a science fiction film that testifies to the director’s talent for this cinematic universe.
From E.T. The extraterrestrial in Lincoln: the key works of Steven Spielberg
Spielberg established himself in the early 1980s as one of the masters of mainstream cinema with the Indiana Jones saga. The first part of the saga, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) with Harrison Ford, produced in collaboration with George Lucas, is a success. It will be followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), then Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).
In 1982, his film E.T. the extraterrestrial, presented at the end of the Cannes Film Festival, seduced in turn. This new success allows Steven Spielberg to create his own production studio, Amblin Entertainment.
Some curiosities about ET the extraterrestrial
ET the Extraterrestrial is one of the rare films to have been shot entirely in the order of the script to allow the different actors to gain in spontaneity and authenticity.
Drew Barrymore, Steven Spielberg’s goddaughter, made her first appearance in this film when she was just 7 years old.
Harrison Ford was supposed to appear in the film as the principal of Elliott’s school. This scene is present in the 2002 version.
At the end of the shooting of Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977, it seems that François Truffaut would have said to Spielberg: “You should make a film with children …” The idea will germinate to become the film we know.
Steven Spielberg pays homage to his friend George Lucas through two sequences: a sequence in which Elliott shows ET figurines representing the characters from Star Wars. And another sequence where the kids meet another kid on the street disguised as Yoda for the Halloween party.
Reaching the top
In the early 1990s, Steven Spielberg was at the top of his game and continued to achieve great success, alternating themes for the general public and more personal topics. Then, in 1994, with two partners (Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen), he created the Dreamworks studios and went on to produce numerous films alongside his work as a director.
In 1993 Steven Spielberg directed Jurassic Park, with innovative special effects for the time, and Schindler’s List. The latter, made in black and white, tells of the rescue of thousands of Jews by a German industrialist, Oskar Schindler. Awarded many times, it is one of the most personal works of the director of Jewish origin.
Steven Spielberg then shot in 1997 Jurassic Park: The Lost World, the sequel to Jurassic Park, and a historical fresco on the abolition of slavery, Amistad. From this film, Steven Spielberg also becomes his own producer to this day. In 1998, a historical film about the American landing in World War II, Saving Private Ryan, was released in theaters. Audiences and critics approve of the film, and it is the beginning of a long collaboration with actor Tom Hanks. Later, they will meet again for Catch Me if you can (2002) and Terminal (2004).
A successful producer
Also a producer since the creation of the Amblin Studio company in 1981, Steven Spielberg is at the center of numerous film productions and sagas, including Poltergeist, Back to the Future, the Goonies, or even Men in Black. Since 2013 he has been part of the 20th Century Fox production company.
The 2000s marked the director’s return to his favorite theme: science fiction. In 2001, AI Artificial Intelligence (based on an idea by Stanley Kubrick) was released on screens, followed by Minority Report (2002) and War of the Worlds (2005) with actor Tom Cruise. At the same time, Spielberg tries a lighter register with the aforementioned Catch Me if you can (2002) and The Terminal (2004).
The 2010s of Steven Spielberg’s filmography were marked by his first 3D film in 2011, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. In 2012, he adapted for the screen another historical work by Doris Kearns Goodwin starring Lincoln, played by Daniel Day-Lewis who received the Oscar for Best Actor for this role. In 2013 he joined the production studios of 20th Century Fox.
Then, in 2015, great success with the historic Il Ponte delle Spie. In 2021 Spielberg creates his version of West Side Story while this year an autobiographical film is planned for November, The Fabelmans.
Steven Spielberg’s Awards, Accolades and Private Life
During his past film career, Steven Spielberg has been repeatedly honored and awarded for the quality of his work. In addition, his films have been nominated several times at the major world film events: Cannes Film Festival, BAFTA Awards, Golden Globes …
In 1994 he received the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director for Schindler’s List. Later, in 1999 he won the Oscar for Best Director for the film Saving Private Ryan. He also chaired the 5th Avoriaz International Film Festival in 1977 and the 66th Cannes Film Festival in 2013.
Steven Spielberg has not ceased to amaze with the diversity and quality of his film work for the general public and on various themes.
On the private side, Steven Spielberg married Amy Irving in November 1985, a few months after the birth of their son Max, on June 13, 1985. But the couple divorced in 1989 and the director found love on Kate Capshaw’s arm, who married in second marriage in October 1991. Together, they have founded a mixed family; Sasha was born in 1990, Sawyer was born in 1992, then they adopted a daughter Mikaela (born February 1996), and a few months later Destry was born (born December 1, 1996). Kate Capshaw also has a daughter, Jessica Capshaw (Arizona Robbins from Grey’s Anatomy), born in 1976 from a previous marriage, and an adopted son Theo (born 1988), whom Steven Spielberg later adopted.
In short, Spielberg did good things in life and behind the camera! For this we make him our best birthday wishes and we leave you with a beautiful phrase of him, which sums up his philosophy of life. It looks similar to that of Walt Disney.
I make a living by dreaming