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If you like Robert Zemeckis's story, you might also like:
James Cameron,
Francis Ford Coppola,
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Sally Field,
Ron Howard,
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and Julie Taymor

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Robert Zemeckis
Robert Zemeckis
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Robert Zemeckis Biography

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Robert Zemeckis Date of birth: May 14, 1952

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  Robert Zemeckis

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Robert Zemeckis was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where he began making films with an 8mm camera while he was still in high school. While attending the University of Southern California School of Cinema, he received a Student Academy Award for his film Field of Honor. This student film was seen by famed director Steven Spielberg, who helped Zemeckis and his USC writing partner Bob Gale obtain a deal to develop the original screenplay 1941, which Spielberg directed in 1979.

Zemeckis made his directorial debut in 1978 with a screenplay he co-wrote with Gale, I Wanna Hold Your Hand. The Zemeckis and Gale partnership continued with the comedy Used Cars (1980), and the adventure-comedy Romancing the Stone (1984). With their next film, Back to the Future, (1985) Zemeckis began his practice of working with the most advanced special effects technology available. Back to the Future was the top-grossing film of its year and also brought the team their first Oscar nomination, for Best Original Screenplay.

With Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) Zemeckis made cinematic history, combining animation and live action with an unprecedented fluidity. The film won numerous Academy Awards and was the second Zemeckis film to top the year-end box-office charts.

Robert Zemeckis Biography Photo
Zemeckis returned to the characters, themes, and dazzling effects of Back to the Future with two sequels, completing one of the most popular film series of all time. His satirical comedy Death Becomes Her (1992) also startled audiences with its mind-bending special-effects wizardry.

In addition to producing most of the films he has directed himself, Robert Zemeckis has produced such films as Tales From the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995) and The Frighteners (1996) and has writing credits on Trespass (1992) and Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood (1996). His directing credits for television include an episode of Spielberg's Amazing Stories and three episodes of HBO's Tales from the Crypt, on which he served as executive producer; he also produced the pilot of the CBS comedy Johnny Bago.

Zemeckis moved beyond the carefree adventure and comedy of his previous films with 1994's Forrest Gump. This film, a huge success with critics and public, used the most advanced technology to tell a moving human story, one in which the characters in the film were seamlessly integrated into documentary footage of historical figures and events. Zemeckis's achievement was recognized by the press, and by his industry peers, with a grand slam of Best Director Awards, including the Golden Globe, the Directors Guild of America award, and the 1995 Oscar for Best Director. Forrest Gump also took home Oscars for Best Picture and for star Tom Hanks.

Robert Zemeckis Biography Photo
After the extraordinary success of Forrest Gump industry insiders competed to guess what Zemeckis's next project would be. Their questions were answered in 1997 with Contact, a visually dazzling and dramatically compelling story of the search for life in outer space. That same year, Zemeckis accepted another Hollywood honor, and became only the eighth motion picture director to leave his hand and footprints in the cement in front of Hollywood's Chinese Theater. He also announced a new partnership with his long-time associates Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey to produce motion pictures under the name Moving Image, to be distributed by DreamWorks SKG, the company founded by Zemeckis's old mentor, Steven Spielberg. By 1998, films directed by Robert Zemeckis had earned worldwide grosses in excess of $2 billion.

In 2000 alone, Zemeckis directed two films, What Lies Beneath and Cast Away. Zemeckis continued his odyssey as a pioneer in the technology of cinema with the Christmas fantasy Polar Express (2004), the first film to be shot entirely in the revolutionary Performance Capture process, a technique that combines digital motion capture with computer graphics to achieve an unprecedented integration of lifelike characters and fantastic landscapes. On its opening day, Polar Express was simultaneously released in a breathtaking IMAX 3D format.

Zemeckis continued his pioneering work in Performance Capture with his 2007 film of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf -- in which the ancient tale's heroes and monsters come to life in three dimensions -- and in his 2009 version of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, in which actor Jim Carrey supplied the underlying performances for multiple roles. As of this writing, Zemeckis is reportedly developing a 3D version of the animated Beatles film Yellow Submarine and a long-awaited sequel to Roger Rabbit. Whatever projects Robert Zemeckis undertakes in the years to come, he will surely find even more new ways to fuse art and science in his luminous tales of hope and wonder.

This page last revised on Jun 15, 2010 15:07 EDT
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