Irwin Winkler biography

Irwin Winkler

Date of Birth: May 25, 1931

A Big Apple native, Winkler was raised in Coney Island. He attended New York University in the early '50s and graduated in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree. After school, he started in the work force as a mail boy at the William Morris Agency.

Moving his way up the ranks from projectionist to an assistant agent, Winkler finally made it to the top jobs.

He decided to leave the company and set up his own theatrical management company in Manhattan with a friend.

His company soon represented such clients as actors, directors, singers and even nightclub comedians.

In 1965, Winkler and his friend were invited to view a low-budget film titled Darling, in England.

After they arranged an American distribution deal, the film was placed on screens across the states and became a critical and box-office smash hit.

Soon after, Winkler was asked to produce an Elvis Presley film, Double Trouble.

With his first film credit out of the way, Winkler went on to produce many more films, including the following critical successes: They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, The New Centurions, and all five Rocky films (the first of which earned Winkler his first Oscar for Best Picture), starring Sylvester Stallone.

Winkler also earned Oscar nominations for producing such films as Raging Bull (1981), The Right Stuff (1984), and Goodfellas (1990).

Winkler didn't start directing films until 1991, when he decided to direct his first and last screenplay, Guilty by Suspicion, starring Robert De Niro and Annette Bening. A mediocre response led Winkler to stick to directing other writers' screenplays, and he kept his directing projects down to a minimum. His most successful directing projects included The Net, starring Sandra Bullock, and At First Sight, before venturing on to the drama Life as a House in the 21st century.

In television, Winkler has produced a number of hit series including the scientifically savvy MacGyver and the comedy Monty, as well as the not-so-successful series, The Net, based on the same film he both directed and produced.

Irwin Winkler Photo