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Spielberg Bio

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Steven Allan Spielberg was born December 18, 1946, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to parents Arnold, an electrical engineer, and Leah, a former concert pianist.

Spielberg was raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where his love for film and business savvy were always apparent. At age 12, he used the money he earned from his tree-planting business to fund his first amateur film, for which he also wrote the script.

stardom is no science fiction

Despite his early experience with filmmaking -- he made Escape to Nowhere, a 40-minute war movie at 13, and a 140-minute film entitled Firelight at 16 (science-fiction, of course) -- he was still rejected from USC's prestigious filmmaking program twice.

Spielberg attended California State University instead, where he received his BA in English, and where he also studied cinema. The aspiring filmmaker finally got his rite of passage into television after his short film, Amblin' (also the name of Spielberg's independent company) received much praise at the Atlanta Film Festival.

A 20-year-old Spielberg landed a 7-year contract with Universal-MCA, making him one of the youngest TV directors there. Spielberg worked on television shows such as Marcus Welby, M.D. and Colombo, and the pilot episode for the series Night Gallery, which starred Joan Crawford (he and Crawford had remained close friends until her death).

As for film, Spielberg worked on made-for-TV movies like Something Evil (1972) and Savage (1973), but it was 1972's Duel which made everyone raise their eyebrows. It became a cult classic and helped forge his way into cinema.

express to success

Spielberg's entrance into film was marked by 1974's The Sugarland Express, which marked him as a Hollywood up-and-comer. But it was the film Jaws that would not only instill a fear of the ocean for people; it also launched Spielberg to A-list status and solidified what we now know as the summer blockbuster.

When Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released in 1977, it was clear that Spielberg was a force to be reckoned with; the Academy also recognized his skills by honoring him with a Best Director Oscar nomination. With hits come misses, and Spielberg had some of those too, namely, his first comedic attempt, 1941. The film flopped, but with the coming of a new decade, Spielberg had the force to strive ahead and become the most powerful director of his time.

Spielberg and his buddy, fellow movie powerhouse George Lucas, joined efforts to make a little film called Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, which Spielberg directed. The film, starring Harrison Ford, proved to be the perfect formula for what spawned a 3-part movie franchise.

Exploring alien life forces and science fiction once again, Spielberg made 1982's E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial, which became the highest-grossing movie of its time and an instant film classic. The movie went on to win awards such as the National Society of Film Critics award for Best Director, as well as the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards for Best Director and Best Film.

let's get serious

In the midst of sequels to Indiana Jones, (Temple of Doom and Last Crusade), Spielberg directed The Color Purple (which launched Oprah Winfrey's career), as a response to critics claiming that he can't make a "serious" movie. Well, this serious movie received a lot of serious critical acclaim, and brought the Directors Guild of America award to Spielberg for Theatrical Direction in 1985, as well as 11 Oscar nominations, but not one honoring the director. As a consolation prize, he did receive the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Award in 1987.

1987 saw the release of Empire of the Sun, while Always was released in 1989, followed by Hook 2 years later. These were each moderate successes, while the latter two were pretty forgettable, especially by the time 1993 came around.

Spielberg shocked movie-going audiences and critics alike with the summer release of the dinosaur flick, Jurassic Park and the black and white, cinematic gem and historic tribute to Oskar Schindler, Schindler's List. While Jurassic Park made $100

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