Steven Spielberg is one of the most influential directors in the history of cinema, responsible for some of the biggest blockbusters of all time such as Jaws, ET, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Color Purple, The Goonies and the Indiana Jones series, to name but a few.
The producer, director and writer has an unsurpassed multitude of success stories. Nominated for seven Academy Awards as Best Director and winning the honours for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, ten of his films were nominated for Best Picture Oscar, which was won by Schindler’s List.
Born in Cincinnati on 18th December 1946 to an Orthodox Jewish family, Spielberg showed an early interest in film-making. He enjoyed making home movies and his first action film depicted a train crash, using toy trains, when he was 12.
As a Boy Scout, he made a nine-minute Western called The Last Gunfight for his photography merit badge in 1958. At 13 and with a cast of friends, he won a prize for his 40-minute war film, Escape to Nowhere.
During his teens and high school years, he continued to make 8mm adventure films. At 16, he wrote and directed a 140-minute science fiction film, Firelight – the inspiration for Close Encounters – which was shown in the local cinema.
While a student at California State University, Long Beach, Spielberg was offered an unpaid intern job with the editing department of Universal Studios. While there, he wrote and directed a 26-minute, 35mm film, Amblin’, which so impressed Universal vice president Sidney Sheinberg that Spielberg was offered a seven-year directing contract.
His first job was directing the pilot episode of Night Gallery, starring Hollywood legend Joan Crawford, who at first was horrified at the prospect of a 21-year-old unknown directing her. However, in later interviews she called Spielberg a “young genius”.
Subsequently, he was signed up to direct a series of TV films. In 1974, his first full-length feature film was The Sugarland Express starring Goldie Hawn, which was greeted with great critical acclaim.
Box office smash hits
Securing Spielberg’s place in Hollywood history, the 1975 film Jaws starring Roy Scheider as Martin Brody, featured a giant man-eating white shark on the rampage. He is a director who places a huge emphasis on massive-scale special effects such as those seen in the classic UFO story, Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977.
He hit the jackpot again with Raiders of the Lost Ark, starring Harrison Ford as the adventurer, in 1981, while ET became the highest-grossing movie of all time in 1982. He followed this with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984, Gremlins the same year and coming-of-age tale The Goonies in 1985.
Best Picture Oscar
In 1993, Jurassic Park took over the record for the highest-grossing film of all time. A change of genre saw Spielberg win an Oscar for Best Picture for Schindler’s List, a moving film about the Holocaust. His other major successes of the decade were the epic Amistad (1997) and Saving Private Ryan (1998) – which many critics said was his finest film.
His success has continued into the 21st century with films such as the animated adventure, Shrek, in 2001; Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio in 2002; War of the Worlds (2005); War Horse (2011) and The BFG (2016).
In his leisure time, the father-of-six collects film memorabilia, including the famous Rosebud sled from the 1941 epic Citizen Kane. He is also an avid video gamer – an interest sparked when he played the old-school game Pong with Richard Dreyfus on the set of Jaws.
Although we can’t promise you’ll be the next Steven Spielberg, Pipecraft can certainly ensure you look the part, thanks to our custom metalwork projects such as the folding prototype director’s chair. Our precision engineering prowess enables us to design and produce bespoke metal furniture which is ergonomically-efficient, comfortable and durable.