Steven Allan Spielberg born on December 18, 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio) is a Jewish American film director whose films range from science fiction to historical drama to horror. He is noted in recent years, for his willingness to tackle controversial issues, such as in Schindler's List, Amistad and Saving Private Ryan. One consistent theme in his work is a childlike, even naïve sense of wonderment and faith, as attested by works like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Hook and A.I..
Spielberg is arguably the most financially successful motion picture director of all time. He has helmed an astounding number of feature films that have become enormous box-office hits, and this has given him enormous influence in Hollywood. As of 2004, he has been listed in Premiere and other magazines as the most "powerful" and influential figure in the motion picture industry. He is seen as a figure who has the influence, financial resources, and acceptance of Hollywood studio authorities to make any movie he wants to make, be it a mainstream action-adventure movie (Jurassic Park) or a three-hour-long black and white drama about a controversial historical subject (Schindler's List). This position makes many other filmmakers envious.
Spielberg is known by film historians as one of the famous "movie brats" of the 1970s: along with fellow filmmakers (and personal friends) George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Brian De Palma, Spielberg grew up making movies. He was making amateur 8mm "adventure" movies with his friends as a teenager (scenes from these amateur films have been included on the DVD edition of Saving Private Ryan), and he made his first short film for theatrical release, Amblin', in 1968 at the age of eighteen. (Spielberg's own production company, Amblin Entertainment, was named after this short film.) His maiden directorial work was a segment of the pilot film to Rod Serling's Night Gallery. While working on this segment its star Joan Crawford collared a production executive and said 'Keep an eye on this kid, he's going places". After directing episodes of various TV shows, including some early Columbo TV movies, Spielberg directed his first well-known feature with a 1971 TV "movie-of-the-week" entitled Duel (later released to theatres overseas and eventually in the U.S.). This film, about a truck mysteriously terrorizing an average citizen, has become a cult classic, having been released on video several times over the years.
Spielberg is married to actress Kate Capshaw, whom he cast in Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom. He has seven children—four biological: Max Spielberg (from his former marriage to actress Amy Irving), Sasha, Sawyer, and Destry Spielberg (from his current marriage to Capshaw); two adopted (Theo and Mikaela Spielberg); and one stepdaughter (Jessica Capshaw).
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