Director, producer, writer. Born December 18, 1946, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Spielberg began experimenting with 8mm short films when he was only in grade school; he won a prize at the age of 13 for the 40-minute war film Escape to Nowhere. He attended California State College (now California State University), where he received a B.A. in English in 1970. His 24-minute short, Amblin, was screened at the Atlanta Film Festival when Spielberg was still in college; its success earned the 20-year-old a seven-year contract with Universal-MCA as a television director. Spielberg was not accepted to the film program at the University of Southern California, and instead returned to Cal State, where he made five more student films. After he had directed episodes of TV series such as Columbo and Marcus Welby, M.D., Spielberg’s first feature-length TV movie, Duel (1971), earned the budding filmmaker critical praise and a chance to jump to the big screen. He made his feature film-directing debut in 1974 with The Sugarland Express, a crime drama starring Goldie Hawn, for which he also wrote the story. In 1975, Spielberg helmed the terrifying film Jaws, about a great white shark who wreaks bloody havoc in the seas around a New England beach town. Though the filming of Jaws ran over an unprecedented 100 days, the $8.5 million movie ultimately grossed $260 million, making it one of the first summer blockbusters and its director one of the most sought-after in Hollywood.
Spielberg followed up on the success of Jaws with Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), a science-fiction drama that garnered him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Director. (He also wrote the screenplay.) Close Encounters, nominated for eight Oscars in all, confirmed the widespread view that Spielberg was on his way to revolutionizing the film industry, both with his unique artistic vision and technique and with his equally unique understanding of what modern movie audiences wanted to see.
Though his next film, 1941 (1979), was a critical and commercial disappointment, Spielberg roared back with the 1981 action hit Raiders of the Lost Ark, which marked his first collaboration with actor Harrison Ford (as the rugged hero Indiana Jones) and producer George Lucas (whose seminal film Star Wars, also featuring Ford, was released the same year).
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Steven Spielberg biography
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