Steven Spielberg Biography
Born: December 18, 1946
"I've never been through psychoanalysis," Steven Spielberg once said. "I solve my problems with the pictures I make."
Judging by his success as a filmmaker and the number of films he has made, Spielberg must either have a lot of problems to solve or, like a lot of people in analysis, just likes the process of solving them.
Spielberg has created some of the world's most memorable, endearing, and heartwrenching films, such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Color Purple and Schindler's List. Like the Great White shark he brought to the screen in Jaws, Spielberg seems to never stop moving and has a voracious appetite for hit movies—his own.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Spielberg made his first 8mm film when he was only 12 years old. A year later he won a contest for a 40-minute film he created called Escape to Nowhere and at 16, he directed a 140-minute film titled Firelight. While attending Long Beach State University, Spielberg went on to make a short film called Amblin which led to his getting a contract at Universal Studios at the young age of 20.
During his Universal contract he started directing television shows and also made an award-winning TV movie called Duel before getting his first feature film assignment at the helm of 1974's The Sugarland Express.
Both Duel and Sugarland were auspicious debuts for the young filmmaker who has said, "I'd rather direct than produce any day—and twice on Sunday." But what lay ahead would prove to be even more remarkable as the real genius of the Spielberg touch announced itself in 1974 when he was given the assignment to direct a little film about a fish terrorizing the beaches of a fictitious town called Amityville. The movie was called Jaws and it became one of the biggest box office blockbusters of all time.
Next came such classics as the three Indiana Jones movies. Then he brought over 200 million people around the world into theaters to see E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial. In 1982, the year E.T. was released, the lovable alien with the magic touch was even one of the four runners-up for Time magazine's Man of the Year.
Jurassic Park was Spielberg's 14th feature film as a director, a film he referred to as "Jaws 2, it's Land Shark." He followed up that mega-monster of a movie with the quieter, more emotionally wrenching film, Schindler's List, the story of Oscar Schindler, a German industrialist who made a "list" of the Jews he wanted to work in his factory, thus saving them from the Nazi death camps. The film won both best director and best picture for Spielberg.
In the late 1990s he would join forces with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen to create a multi-media company called DreamWorks SKG. In 1999, he won another Best Director Oscar for Saving Private Ryan (1998), then in 2006 received a Best Achievement in Directing and Best Picture nods at the 78th Academy Awards for Munich (2005).
A few years before making Schindler's List, Spielberg bought a small child's sleigh called "Rosebud." The sleigh was the one used in what many agree is the greatest movie ever made—Citizen Kane. Spielberg, who paid $20,000 for the sleigh, said: "Rosebud will go over my typewriter to remind me that quality in movies comes first."
Spielberg has since continued to create box office hits, such as the big screen adaptation of The Adventures of Tintin (2011) and the biographical drama Lincoln (2012), which received 12 Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Director for Spielberg.
His more recent films include the Best Picture Oscar-nominated thriller Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, and the Roald Dahl animated reboot The BFG (2016), again starring Mark Rylance. 2018 proves to be a busy year for Spielberg, with his latest works being The Post (2018) and Ready Player One (2018).
Spielberg was once married to Amy Irving and is now married to Kate Capshaw. His children include Max (with Irving); Sasha, Sawyer, Theo, Mikaela (adopted), Jessica (stepdaughter) and Destry Allyn—all with Capshaw. His goddaughter is Drew Barrymore.