Robert Zemeckis biography

Robert Zemeckis

Date of Birth: May 14, 1952

Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, Robert Zemeckis began making films with an 8mm camera while in high school. He attended Northern Illinois University before transferring to the University of Southern California School of Cinema.

After winning a student Academy Award for his film Field of Honor, Zemeckis showed the film to directors Steven Spielberg and John Milius. Later, the filmmakers made it possible for Zemeckis and his USC writing partner Bob Gale to get a development deal for their original screenplay 1941 that Spielberg chose to direct. Even though the film had disappointing box office returns, Spielberg was convinced that his protegés were valuable commodities.

Zemeckis made his directorial debut in 1978 with a screenplay he co-wrote with Bob Gale, I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Despite the film's low budget, it demonstrated Zemeckis' ability to combine credible live-action sequences with elaborate special effects devices. The two teamed again to make Used Cars .

After semi-successful films such as Romancing the Stone, Death Becomes Her, and The Public Eye, Zemeckis struck gold with the Back to the Future trilogy, which earned more than $350 worldwide. He also directed the top-grossing film of 1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit .

By the early 1990s, Zemeckis was recognized as a director of great technical skill but little personal viewpoint, something that changed with the 1994 release of Forrest Gump . Beyond its top-heavy special effects, the film was a distinctly human drama about a mildly retarded young man who achieves professional and personal success by refusing to see anything but the good in people. Expected to be a moderately profitable feature, Forrest Gump amazed everyone by being the top money spinner of the summer of 1994—and one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. As an added bonus, it helped Zemeckis snag a Best Director Oscar, as well as several other awards.

He has also directed several projects for the small screen, including Tales From the Crypt (on which he also serves as an executive producer) and an episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories.

Zemeckis sits on the USC School of Cinema-Television's Board of Councilors, and is married to actress Mary Ellen Trainor.

Robert Zemeckis Photo