Lights, Camera, Action: Directors of Hollywood

by christophershobris | created - 30 May 2017 | updated - 02 Sep 2017 | Public

Honoring the men and women behind the camera.

1. George Abbott

Writer | Damn Yankees

Legendary Broadway writer/producer/director George Abbott was born in 1887 in Forestville, New York. His father was mayor of Salamanca, New York, for two terms. In 1898 his family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Abbott attended Kearney Military Academy. The family returned to New York, where Abbott...

Career Highlights: Damn Yankees (1958) The Carnival Man (1929) Halfway to Heaven (1929)

2. Jim Abrahams

Writer | Airplane!

Jim Abrahams was born on May 10, 1944 in Shorewood, Wisconsin, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Airplane! (1980), Top Secret! (1984) and Hot Shots! (1991). He is married to Nancy Cocuzzo.

Career Highlights: Airplane (1980); with Jerry and David Zucker Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990)

3. J.J. Abrams

Producer | Lost

Jeffrey Jacob Abrams was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, the son of TV producer parents. Abrams planned on going to dental school, but decided to study film at Sarah Lawrence College. At 15, he wrote the music for Don Dohler's Nightbeast (1982). In his senior year, he and Jill ...

Career Highlights: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Star Trek (2009) Mission: Impossible III (2006)

4. Andrew Adamson

Writer | Shrek 2

Andrew Adamson was born on December 1, 1966 in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a producer and writer, known for Shrek 2 (2004), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) and Shrek (2001). He has been married to Gyulnara Karaeva since January 16, 2016. He was previously ...

Career Highlights: Shrek (2001) Shrek 2 (2004) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

5. Percy Adlon

Director | Out of Rosenheim

Percy Adlon is best known for his film "Bagdad Cafe" aka "Out of Rosenheim". He was born in Munich, June 1, 1935, and grew up in Ammerland/Starnbergersee, in the Bavarian countryside. He studied art and theater history, and German literature at Munich's Ludwig-Maximilian University, took acting and...

Career Highlights: Celeste (1981) Bagdad Café (1987)

6. John G. Adolfi

Director | Queen of the Sea

Entering films as an actor in 1910, John G. Adolfi soon switched careers and became a director. He turned out numerous, mostly low-budget films for minor companies, but every so often got a chance to work at a big studio like Fox. His big break came in the sound era, when he formed a partnership ...

Career Highlights: Evidence (1929) Driven By Fate (1918) The Little Snob (1928)

7. Alexandre Aja

Director | Haute tension

Alexandre Aja was born on August 7, 1978 in Paris, France as Alexandre Jouan Arcady. He is a producer and director, known for High Tension (2003), The Hills Have Eyes (2006) and Piranha 3D (2010). He is married to Laïla Marrakchi.

Career Highlights: Piranha 3D (2010) The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

8. Chantal Akerman

Director | Je tu il elle

Chantal Akerman was born on June 6, 1950 in Brussels, Belgium as Chantal Anne Akerman. She was a director and writer, known for Je Tu Il Elle (1974), The Meetings of Anna (1978) and A Couch in New York (1996). She was married to Sonia Wieder-Atherton. She died on October 5, 2015 in Paris, France.

Career Highlights: De l'autre cote (2002) AKA From the Other Side D'Est (1993) AKA From the East

9. Robert Aldrich

Director | What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Robert Aldrich entered the film industry in 1941 when he got a job as a production clerk at RKO Radio Pictures. He soon worked his way up to script clerk, then became an assistant director, a production manager and an associate producer. He began writing and directing for TV series in the early ...

Career Highlights: The Frisco Kid (1979) The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) What Ever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Apache (1954)

10. Irwin Allen

Producer | The Towering Inferno

A graduate of New York's Columbia School of Journalism, Irwin Allen was a magazine editor, the producer/director of a radio show and the owner of an advertising agency before entering film production in the 1950s. His documentary, The Sea Around Us (1953), won an Academy Award. A successful TV ...

Career Highlights: The Lost World (1960) Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) The Sea Around Us (1953); documentary

11. Woody Allen

Writer | Manhattan

Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...

Career Highlights: What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966) Take the Money and Run (1969) Sleeper (1973) Love and Death (1975) Annie Hall (1977) Manhattan (1979) Zelig (1983) Broadway Danny Rose (1984) The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) Husbands and Wives (1992) Bullets Over Broadway (1994) Midnight in Paris (2011) Blue Jasmine (2013)

12. Robert Altman

Director | Gosford Park

Robert Altman was born on February 20th, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, to B.C. (an insurance salesman) and Helen Altman. He entered St. Peters Catholic school at the age six, and spent a short time at a Catholic high school. From there, he went to Rockhurst High School. It was then that he started...

Career Highlights: MASH (1970) Nashville (1975) The Player (1992) Short Cuts (1993) Gosford Park (2001) A Wedding (1978) McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

13. Alejandro Amenábar

Writer | The Others

Is the son of a Spanish mother and a Chilean father. His family moved back to Spain when he was 1 year old, and he grew up and studied in Madrid. He wrote, produced and directed his first short film La cabeza at the age of 19, and he was 23 when he directed his feature debut Thesis (1996). His film ...

Career Highlights: The Others (2001) Agora (2009)

14. Jon Amiel

Director | Copycat

After studies in English literature, Jon Amiel graduated from Cambridge University and ran the Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company, which often toured the USA. He became the Hampstead Theatre Company's literary manager and began directing there, relocating to the Royal Shakespeare Company.


Career Highlights: The Core (2003) Copycat (1995) Sommersby (1993)

15. Brad Anderson

Director | Session 9

Brad Anderson was born in 1964 in Madison, Connecticut, USA. He is a director and producer, known for Session 9 (2001), The Machinist (2004) and Transsiberian (2008).

Career Highlights: Transsiberian (2008) The Machinist (2004)

16. Michael Anderson

Director | Logan's Run

London-born Michael Anderson began his career in films as an office boy at Elstree studios. By 1938, he had progressed up the ladder to become assistant director for distinguished film makers Noël Coward, David Lean and Anthony Asquith. Shortly after, during wartime with the Royal Signals Corps (...

Career Highlights: Logan's Run (1976) The Dam Busters (1955) Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

17. Paul Thomas Anderson

Director | There Will Be Blood

Anderson was born in 1970. He was one of the first of the "video store" generation of film-makers. His father was the first man on his block to own a V.C.R., and from a very early age Anderson had an infinite number of titles available to him. While film-makers like Spielberg cut their teeth making...

Career Highlights: There Will Be Blood (2007) Boogie Nights (1997) The Master (2012)

18. Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer | Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Paul W.S. Anderson gained a fair bit of notoriety in his native England when he directed the ultra-violent Shopping (1994) (which he also wrote), starring Jude Law and Sean Pertwee in a story about thieves who steal by ramming a car into storefronts. The film was banned in some cinemas in England, ...

Career Highlights: Mortal Kombat (1995) Resident Evil (2002) Death Race (2008) Alien Vs. Predator (2004)

19. Wes Anderson

Writer | Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wesley Wales Anderson was born in Houston, Texas. His mother, Texas Ann (Burroughs), is an archaeologist turned real estate agent, and his father, Melver Leonard Anderson, worked in advertising and PR. He has two brothers, Eric and Mel. Anderson's parents divorced when he was a young child, an ...

Career Highlights: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Bottle Rocket (1996) Rushmore (1998)

20. Roy Andersson

Director | Sånger från andra våningen

Roy Andersson was born on March 31, 1943 in Gothenburg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden as Roy Arne Lennart Andersson. He is a director and writer, known for Songs from the Second Floor (2000), A Swedish Love Story (1970) and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014).

Career Highlights: A Swedish Love Story (1970) Songs on the Second Floor (2000)

21. Ken Annakin

Director | The Longest Day

A former salesman and journalist, Ken Annakin got into the film industry making documentary shorts. His feature debut, Holiday Camp (1947), was a comedy about a Cockney family on vacation. It was made for the Rank Organization and was a modest success, spawning three sequels, all of which he ...

Career Highlights: Paper Tiger (1975) Swiss Family Robinson (1960) The Sword and the Rose (1953) Quartet (1948) Hotel Sahara (1951)

22. Jean-Jacques Annaud

Director | Der Name der Rose

Jean-Jacques Annaud is a French film director, screenwriter and producer, best known for directing Quest for Fire (1981), The Name of the Rose (1986), The Lover (1992), Seven Years in Tibet (1997) and Wolf Totem (2015). Annaud has received numerous awards for his work, including four César Awards, ...

Career Highlights: Quest for Fire (1981) The Bear (1988) Seven Years in Tibet (1997) Enemy at the Gates (2001) Two Brothers (2004)

23. Michelangelo Antonioni

Writer | Blowup

Michelangelo Antonioni was born in 1912 into a middle-class family and grew up in bourgeois surroundings of the Italian province. In Bologna he studied economics and commerce while he painted and also wrote criticism for a local newspaper. In 1939 he went to Rome and worked for the journal "Cinema"...

Career Highlights: Zabriskie Point (1970) The Passenger (1975)

24. Michael Apted

Director | Rome

Michael Apted was born on February 10, 1941 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England as Michael David Apted. He is a director and producer, known for Rome (2005), Enigma (2001) and The World Is Not Enough (1999). He has been married to Paige Simpson since January 8, 2014. He was previously married to ...

Career Highlights: Stardust (1974) Coal Miner's Daughter (1980) Gorillas in the Mist (1988) The World is Not Enough (1999) The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treder (2010)

25. Oscar Apfel

Director | The Squaw Man

Entering the film industry almost at its beginning, Oscar Apfel began his career in 1911 as a director. He hit the big leagues in 1914 when he was given many prestigious assignments for Paramount Pictures, often in collaboration with Cecil B. DeMille. In 1916, he switched to Fox, and then ...

Career Highlights: Shadows of an Orient (1935) Huckleberry Finn (1931) The Squaw Man (1914)

26. Gillian Armstrong

Director | Little Women

Gillian Armstrong was born on December 18, 1950 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia as Gillian May Armstrong. She is a director and producer, known for Little Women (1994), My Brilliant Career (1979) and Not Fourteen Again (1996). She is married to John Pleffer. They have two children.

Career Highlights: Starstruck (1982) High Tide (1987)

27. Darren Aronofsky

Director | Pi

Darren Aronofsky was born February 12, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, Darren was always artistic: he loved classic movies and, as a teenager, he even spent time doing graffiti art. After high school, Darren went to Harvard University to study film (both live-action and animation). He won ...

Career Highlights: Requiem for a Dream (2000) The Wrestler (2008) Black Swan (2010)

28. Hal Ashby

Director | Harold and Maude

Hal Ashby was born the fourth and youngest child in a Mormon household, in Ogden, Utah, to Eileen Ireta (Hetzler) and James Thomas Ashby, on September 2, 1929. His father was a dairy farmer. After a rough childhood that included the divorce of his parents, his father's suicide, his dropping out of ...

Career Highlights: Shampoo (1975) Bound for Glory (1976) Coming Home (1978) Being There (1979) 8 Million Ways to Die (1986)

29. John Asher

Director | A Boy Called Po

John is an award winning writer/director who spent his early life breaking his dad's video cameras trying to get an epic shot. He always wanted to be a director, to tell stories in images, probably because dyslexia made it so difficult for him to tell them in words. But children don't have many ...

Career Highlights: Dirty Love (2005) Diamonds (1999)

30. Richard Attenborough

Actor | Jurassic Park

Lord Richard Attenborough was born in Cambridge, England, the son of Mary (née Clegg), a founding member of the Marriage Guidance Council, and Frederick Levi Attenborough, a scholar and academic administrator who was a don at Emmanuel College and wrote a standard text on Anglo-Saxon law. The family...

Career Highlights: Gandhi (1982) Chaplin (1992) Cry Freedom (1987) A Bridge Too Far (1977)

31. Roger Avary

Writer | Lucky Day

Award-winning filmmaker Roger Avary first began experimenting in Beta I video and 8mm film formats during the late 1970s. In 1983, his Super-8mm supernatural thriller The Worm Turns won Best Film from the Los Angeles Film Teachers Association Film Expo. He went on to attend the Pasadena Art Center ...

Career Highlights: Killing Zoe (1994) The Rules of Attraction (2002)

32. John G. Avildsen

Director | Rocky

John G. Avildsen was born on December 21, 1935 in Oak Park, Illinois, USA as John Guilbert Avildsen. He was a director and editor, known for Rocky (1976), The Karate Kid Part III (1989) and Rocky V (1990). He was married to Tracy Brooks Swope and Marie Olga Maturevich. He died on June 16, 2017 in ...

Career Highlights: Save the Tiger (1973) Rocky (1976) The Karate Kid (1984)

33. John Badham

Director | WarGames

English-born "Army brat" John Badham is the son of English actress Mary Hewitt and the stepson of an American Army general. Raised in Alabama and schooled at Yale, he cut his teeth producing and directing for TV before making his feature debut with The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor ...

Career Highlights: Saturday Night Fever (1977) Dracula (1979) WarGames (1983) Short Circuit (1986)

34. King Baggot

Actor | Jim Webb, Senator

St. Louis-born King Baggot traveled to New York City with the express intent of crashing Broadway, but began his film career in nearby Fort Lee, NJ, in 1909. It didn't take long before he graduated from actor to writer and director--at times performing all three functions; in Shadows (1914) he not ...

Career Highlights: Tumbleweeds (1925) The Notorious Lady (1927)

35. Ralph Bakshi

Director | Wizards

Ralph Bakshi worked his way up from Brooklyn and became an animation legend. He was born on October 29, 1938, in Haifa, Israel, the son of Mina (Zlotin) and Eliezar Bakshi, and is of Krymchak Jewish descent. He was raised in Brownsville, after his family came to New York to escape World War II. ...

Career Highlights: Fritz the Cat (1972) Wizards (1977) The Lord of the Rings (1978) Fire and Ice (1983) Cool World (1992) Coonskin (1975

36. Carroll Ballard

Camera_department | Star Wars

Carroll Ballard was born on October 14, 1937 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Carroll James Ballard. He is known for his work on Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), The Black Stallion (1979) and Fly Away Home (1996).

Career Highlights: The Black Stallion (1979) Never Cry Wolf (1983) Fly Away Home (1996) Duma (2005)

37. Noah Baumbach

Writer | Marriage Story

Born in Brooklyn in 1969 Noah Baumbach is the son of two film critics, Georgia Brown and Jonathan Baumbach (also a writer). His studies at Vassar College were the subject of his first film (made as he was 26 years old), Kicking and Screaming (1995). His second major picture, made ten years later, ...

Career Highlights: The Squid and the Whale (2005) Frances Ha (2012)

38. Michael Bay

Producer | Armageddon

A graduate of Wesleyan University, Michael Bay spent his 20s working on advertisements and music videos. His first projects after film school were in the music video business. He created music videos for Tina Turner, Meat Loaf, Lionel Richie, Wilson Phillips, Donny Osmond and Divinyls. His work won...

Career Highlights: Bad Boys (1995) The Rock (1996) Transformers (2007)

39. Harold Becker

Director | Malice

Harold Becker was born on September 25, 1928 in New York City, New York, USA. He is a director and producer, known for Malice (1993), Mercury Rising (1998) and Sea of Love (1989). He is married to Susan Becker.

Career Highlights: Mercury Rising (1998) Malice (1993) Vision Quest (1985)

40. Bruce Beresford

Director | 'Breaker' Morant

Bruce Beresford was born in Australia and graduated from Sydney University in 1962. He served as Film Officer for the British Film Institute Production Board from 1966-1971 and as a Film Advisor to the Arts Council of Great Britain. Beresford has also directed several operas including Girl Of The ...

Career Highlights: Driving Miss Daisy (1989) Breaker Morant (1980) Tender Mercies (1983) Crimes of the Heart (1986)

41. Ingmar Bergman

Writer | Persona

Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July 14, 1918, the son of a priest. The film and T.V. series, The Best Intentions (1992) is biographical and shows the early marriage of his parents. The film 'Söndagsbarn' depicts a bicycle journey with his father. In the miniseries Private Confessions (1996) is the ...

Career Highlights: Fanny and Alexander (1982) The Magic Flute (1975) Cries and Whispers (1972)

42. Luc Besson

Writer | The Fifth Element

Luc Besson spent the first years of his life following his parents, scuba diving instructors, around the world. His early life was entirely aquatic. He already showed amazing creativity as a youth, writing early drafts of The Big Blue (1988) and The Fifth Element (1997), as an adolescent bored in ...

Career Highlights: Subway (1985) Nikita (1990) Leon: The Professional (1994) The Fifth Element (1997) Lucy (2014) Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

43. Busby Berkeley

Director | Gold Diggers of 1935

Busby Berkeley was one of the greatest choreographers of the US movie musical. He started his career in the US Army in 1918, as a lieutenant in the artillery conducting and directing parades. After the World War I cease-fire he was ordered to stage camp shows for the soldiers. Back in the US he ...

Career Highlights: Babes on Broadway (1941) Babes in Arms (1939) Gold Diggers in Paris (1938) Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936) Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935) Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

44. Kathryn Bigelow

Director | The Hurt Locker

A very talented painter, Kathryn spent two years at the San Francisco Art Institute. At 20, she won a scholarship to the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. She was given a studio in a former Offtrack Betting building, literally in an old bank vault, where she made art and waited to be ...

Career Highlights: Zero Dark Thirty (2012) The Hurt Locker (2009) Strange Days (1995) Near Dark (1987)

45. Tony Bill

Director | Flyboys

He graduated in 1962 from the University of Notre Dame with majors in English and Art. Tony began his career in the film industry as an actor. His acting years were distinguished by the quality of the directors who chose him for their films, including Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola. Tony...

Career Highlights: Flyboys (2006) Crazy People (1990) My Bodyguard (1980)

46. Brad Bird

Writer | The Incredibles

Phillip Bradley "Brad" Bird is an American director, screenwriter, animator, producer and occasional voice actor, known for both animated and live-action films. Bird was born in Kalispell, Montana, the youngest of four children of Marjorie A. (née Cross) and Philip Cullen Bird. His father worked in...

Career Highlights: The Iron Giant (1999) The Incredibles (2004) Ratatouille (2007) Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

47. Neill Blomkamp

Director | District 9

Neill Blomkamp was born on September 17, 1979 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a director and writer, known for District 9 (2009), Elysium (2013) and Chappie (2015). He is married to Terri Tatchell. They have one child.

Career Highlights: District 9 (2009) Elysium (2013)

48. Don Bluth

Director | Anastasia

Don Bluth was one of the chief animators at Disney to come to the mantle after the great one's death. He eventually became the animation director for such films as The Rescuers (1977) and Pete's Dragon (1977). Unfortunately, the quality of animation that Disney was producing at this point was not ...

Career Highlights: The Secret of NIMH (1982) An American Tail (1986) The Land Before Time (1988) All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989) Anastasia (1997)

49. Peter Bogdanovich

Director | The Last Picture Show

Peter Bogdanovich was conceived in Europe but born in Kingston, New York. He is the son of immigrants fleeing the Nazis, Herma (Robinson) and Borislav Bogdanovich, a painter and pianist. His father was a Serbian Orthodox Christian, and his mother was from a wealthy Austrian Jewish family. Peter ...

Career Highlights: The Last Picture Show (1971) Paper Moon (1973) Daisy Miller (1974) Mask (1985)

50. Uwe Boll

Producer | Postal

As a child, he produced a number of short films on Super 8 and video before beginning his studies as a film director in Munich and Vienna. He also studied literature and economics in Cologne and Siegen. Uwe graduated from university in 1995 with a doctorate in literature. From 1995-2000, he was a ...

Career Highlights: Darfur (2009) Seed (2007) Tunnel Rats (2008) Rampage (2009)

51. John Boorman

Producer | Deliverance

John Boorman attended Catholic school (Salesian Order) although his family was not, in fact, Roman Catholic. His first job was for a dry-cleaner. Later, he worked as a critic for a women's journal and for a radio station until he entered the television business, working for the BBC in Bristol. ...

Career Highlights: Hope and Glory (1987) Deliverance (1972) Excalibur (1981)

52. Frank Borzage

Director | Bad Girl

Frank Borzage was born on April 23, 1894 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. He was an actor and director, known for Bad Girl (1931), No Greater Glory (1934) and 7th Heaven (1927). He was married to Juanita Scott, Edna Skelton and Rena Rogers. He died on June 19, 1962 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, ...

Career Highlights: 7th Heaven (1927) Man's Castle (1933) The Mortal Storm (1940) Journey Beneath the Desert (1961)

53. David Bowers

Director | Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

David Bowers was born in Cheshire, England. He is known for his work on Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011), Flushed Away (2006) and Astro Boy (2009).

Career Highlights: Flushed Away (2006) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017)

54. Danny Boyle

Director | 127 Hours

Danny Boyle was born on October 20, 1956 in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, England as Daniel Francis Boyle. He is a director and producer, known for 127 Hours (2010), 28 Days Later... (2002) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

Career Highlights: 127 Hours (2010) Slumdog Millionaire (2008) 28 Days Later (2002) Trainspotting (2006)

55. John Brahm

Director | The Twilight Zone

The son of comedian and theatre director Ludwig Brahm, Hans followed in his father's footsteps and began his career on the stages of Vienna, Berlin and Paris. Again, like his father, he graduated to directing and had his first fling with the film business as a dialogue director for a Franco/German ...

Career Highlights: Singapore (1947) Broken Blossoms (1936)

56. Kenneth Branagh

Actor | Henry V

Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to parents William Branagh, a plumber and carpenter, and Frances (Harper), both born in 1930. He has two siblings, William Branagh, Jr. (born 1955) and Joyce Branagh (born 1970). When he was nine, his family ...

Career Highlights: Henry V (1989) Much Ado About Nothing (1993) Hamlet (1996) The Magic Flute (2006) Thor (2011) Cinderella (2015)

57. Martin Brest

Director | Scent of a Woman

Martin Brest was born on August 8, 1951 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA. He is a director and actor, known for Scent of a Woman (1992), Midnight Run (1988) and Beverly Hills Cop (1984).

Career Highlights: Beverly Hills Cop (1984) Midnight Run (1988) Scent of a Woman (1992) Meet Joe Black (1998)

58. Steven Brill

Director | Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh

A native of Utica, New York, Steven Brill studied film, theater and acting at Boston University. It was there that he became a student of acclaimed, Nobel Prize winning poet and playwright, Derek Walcott. Brill became a part of Mr. Walcott's first theater group in Boston, Playwright's Theater, ...

Career Highlights: Mr. Deeds (2002) Without a Paddle (2004)

59. James L. Brooks

Writer | Broadcast News

James L. Brooks was born on May 9, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as James Lawrence Brooks. He is a writer and producer, known for Broadcast News (1987), As Good as It Gets (1997) and Terms of Endearment (1983). He was previously married to Holly Holmberg Brooks and Marianne Catherine Morrissey.

Career Highlights: Terms of Endearment (1983) Broadcast News (1987) As Good as it Gets (1997) Spanglish (2004)

60. Mel Brooks

Actor | Spaceballs

Mel Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in WWII, and afterwards got a job playing the drums at nightclubs in the Catskills. Brooks eventually started a comedy act and also worked in radio and as Master Entertainer at Grossinger's Resort before going to ...

Career Highlights: Young Frankenstein (1974) Blazing Saddles (1974) Spaceballs (1987)

61. Richard Brooks

Writer | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Richard Brooks was an Academy Award-winning film writer who also earned six Oscar nominations and achieved success as a film director and producer.

He was born Ruben Sax on May 18, 1912, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. He graduated from West Philadelphia HS...

Career Highlights: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) Blackboard Jungle (1955)

62. Clarence Brown

Director | Anna Karenina

Clarence Leon Brown was the son of Larkin Harry and Catherine Ann (Gaw) Brown of Clinton, Massachusetts. His family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, when he was 12 years old. He graduated from Knoxville High School in 1905 and from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in mechanical and electrical ...

Career Highlights: Angels in the Outfield (1951) The Yearling (1946) National Velvet (1944) The Human Comedy (1943) Anna Karenina (1935) A Free Soul (1931) Romance (1930) Anna Christie (1930) The Last of the Mohicans (1920)

63. Tod Browning

Director | Dracula

Belonging to a well-situated family, Charles Browning fell in love at the age of 16 with a dancer of a circus. Following her began his itinerary of being clown, jockey and director of a variety theater which ended when he met D.W. Griffith and became an actor. He made his debut in Intolerance: ...

Career Highlights: Iron Man (1931) Dracula (1931) White Tiger (1923)

64. Tim Burton

Producer | Edward Scissorhands

Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), who owned a cat-themed gift shop, and William Reed Burton, who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons, and watching old movies (he was ...

Career Highlights: Beetlejuice (1988) Batman (1989) Edward Sissorhands (1990) Batman Returns (1992) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Ed Wood (1994) Mars Attacks (1996) Sleepy Hollow (1999) Big Fish (2003) Corpse Bride (2005) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) Alice in Wonderland (2010) Frankenweenie (2012) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

65. James Cameron

Writer | Avatar

James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States in 1971. The son of an engineer, he majored in physics at California State University before switching to English, and eventually dropping out. He then drove a truck to support his ...

Career Highlights: Avatar (2009) Titanic (1997) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) Aliens (1986) The Terminator (1984)

66. Martin Campbell

Director | Casino Royale

Martin Campbell knows how to entertain an audience when he steps behind the camera. When he directed The Mask of Zorro (1998), the movie earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations and launched the international careers of Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Next, when he helmed ...

Career Highlights: Green Lantern (2011) Casino Royale (2006) The Mask of Zorro (1998) GoldenEye (1995) Eskimo Nell (1975)

67. Frank Capra

Director | It's a Wonderful Life

One of seven children, Frank Capra was born on May 18, 1897, in Bisacquino, Sicily. On May 10, 1903, his family left for America aboard the ship Germania, arriving in New York on May 23rd. "There's no ventilation, and it stinks like hell. They're all miserable. It's the most degrading place you ...

Career Highlights: It's a Wonderful Life (1946) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) You Can't Take It With You (1938) Mr. Deed Goes to Town (1936) It Happened One Night (1934) Lady for a Day (1933)

68. John Carpenter

Writer | The Fog

John Howard Carpenter was born in Carthage, New York, to mother Milton Jean (Carter) and father Howard Ralph Carpenter. His family moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where his father, a professor, was head of the music department at Western Kentucky University. He attended Western Kentucky ...

Career Highlights: Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) Halloween (1978) Christine (1983) Big Trouble in Little China (1986) Escape from L.A. (1996) Village of the Damned (1995)

69. D.J. Caruso

Director | I Am Number Four

Born in Norwalk, Connecticut, Caruso came west to play tennis and study Television Production at Pepperdine University. Interned at Disney Studios in the Product Placement department and later hooked up with Director John Badham, who mentored him into a second-unit director, after Badham lost his ...

Career Highlights: XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017) I Am Number Four (2011) Disturbia (2007)

70. John Cassavetes

Actor | Love Streams

John Cassavetes was a Greek-American actor, film director, and screenwriter. He is considered a pioneer of American independent film, as he often financed his own films.

Cassavetes was born in New York City in 1929 to Nicholas John Cassavetes and his wife, Katherine Demetre (1906-1983). Nicholas was...

Career Highlights: Shadows (1959) Faces (1968) Husbands (1970) Gloria (1980) Big Trouble (1986)

71. Nick Cassavetes

Actor | Face/Off

Nick Cassavetes was born in New York City, the son of actress Gena Rowlands and Greek-American actor and film director John Cassavetes. As a child, he appeared in two of his father's films: Husbands (1970) and A Woman Under the Influence (1974). After spending so much of his youth surrounded by the...

Career Highlights: My Sister's Keeper (2009) The Notebook (2004) Unhook the Stars (1996)

72. Michael Caton-Jones

Director | Memphis Belle

Michael Caton-Jones was born on October 15, 1957 in Broxburn, West Lothian, Scotland as Michael Jones. He is a director and producer, known for Memphis Belle (1990), Basic Instinct 2 (2006) and The Jackal (1997).

Career Highlights: Scandal (1989) Memphis Belle (1990) Doc Hollywood (1991) This Boy's Life (1993)

73. Peter Chelsom

Actor | The Space Between Us

Peter Chelsom is a member of the British Academy, the American Academy, The Directors Guild Of America, and The Writers Guild Of America. Peter was born in Blackpool in the North of England. He is a US and UK citizen. (Trivia: he is an Honorary Citizen of a small town in Tuscany, Italy, called ...

74. Stephen Chow

Actor | Kung fu

Stephen Chow was the only boy of his family, and has grown up as a Bruce Lee fan and a martial arts addict. His career started on TV, where he presented a children show ( "430 Space Shuttle" (1983)) and started becoming popular. He got some supporting roles, after that, and won the Taiwanese Golden...

Career Highlights: Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (2013) The Mermaid (2016) CJ7 (2008) Kung Fu Hustle (2004) Shaolin Soccer (2001)

75. Roger Christian

Set_decorator | Star Wars

Academy Award winner Roger Christian has had an extensive film career. He won an Academy Award for set decoration on director George Lucas's Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), which began a long collaboration between the filmmakers. Christian subsequently worked with Lucas on Star Wars: ...

Career Highlights: Lorca and the Outlaws (1984)

76. Michael Cimino

Writer | The Deer Hunter

Michael Cimino studied architecture and dramatic arts; later he filmed advertisements and documentaries and also wrote scripts until the actor, producer and director Clint Eastwood gave him the opportunity to direct the thriller Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974). But his biggest success was The Deer...

Career Highlights: The Deer Hunter (1978) Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) Year of the Dragon (1985)

77. Joel Coen

Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), Fargo (1996) and Barton Fink (1991). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.

Career Highlights: Raising Arizona (1987) Barton Fink (1991) The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) Fargo (1996) The Big Lebowski (1998) O' Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

78. Ethan Coen

Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Ethan Coen was born on September 21, 1957 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Ethan Jesse Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), A Serious Man (2009) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). He has been married to Tricia Cooke since October 2, 1990. They have two ...

Career Highlights: No Country for Old Men (2007) Burn After Reading (2008) True Grit (2010) Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

79. Rob Cohen

Director | DragonHeart

Rob Cohen is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. One of the 1970's "baby moguls", he built a thriving career as a producer, before concentrating full time on directing from the 1990's, with high adrenaline action blockbusters such as xXx (2002) and Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (...

Career Highlights: XXX (2002) The Fast and the Furious (2001) Dragonheart (1996) Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993)

80. Chris Columbus

Producer | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Ohio, Chris Columbus was first inspired to make movies after seeing "The Godfather" at age 15. After enrolling at NYU film school, he sold his first screenplay (never produced) while a sophomore there. After graduation Columbus tried to sell his fourth script, "...

Career Highlights: Home Alone (1990) Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

81. Bill Condon

Director | Gods and Monsters

Bill Condon was born on October 22, 1955 in New York City, New York, USA as William Patrick Condon. He is a director and writer, known for Gods and Monsters (1998), Kinsey (2004) and Dreamgirls (2006).

Career Highlights: Mr. Holmes (2015) Beauty and the Beast (2017) Dreamgirls (2006) Kinsey (2004) Gods and Monsters (1998)

82. Francis Ford Coppola

Producer | Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola (née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated ...

Career Highlights: The Godfather (1972) The Godfather Part II (1974) The Conversation (1974) Apocalypse Now (1979) Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

83. Sofia Coppola

Actress | The Godfather: Part III

Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere (2010), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. She was ...

Career Highlights: Lost in Translation (2003) Marie Antoinette (2006) The Bling Ring (2013)

84. Roger Corman

Actor | The Silence of the Lambs

Roger William Corman was born April 5, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan. Initially following in his father's footsteps, Corman studied engineering at Stanford University but while in school, he began to lose interest in the profession and developed a growing passion for film. Upon graduation, he worked a...

Career Highlights: The Wild Angels (1966) The Masque of the Red Death (1964) The Terror (1963) The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) Machine-Gun Kelly (1958)

85. Kevin Costner

Actor | The Postman

Kevin Michael Costner was born on January 18, 1955 in Lynwood, California, the third child of Bill Costner, a ditch digger and ultimately an electric line servicer for Southern California Edison, and Sharon Costner (née Tedrick), a welfare worker. His older brother, Dan, was born in 1950. A middle ...

Career Highlights: Dances with Wolves (1990)

86. Wes Craven

Writer | A Nightmare on Elm Street

Wes Craven has become synonymous with genre bending and innovative horror, challenging audiences with his bold vision.

Wesley Earl Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Caroline (Miller) and Paul Eugene Craven. He had a midwestern suburban upbringing. His first feature film was The Last House on ...

Career Highlights: Scream (1996) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1985) The Last House on the Left (1972) The Hills Have Eyes (1977) Swamp Thing (1982) The People Under the Stairs (1991) New Nightmare (1994) Music of the Heart (1999) Red Eye (2005)

87. David Cronenberg

Director | The Fly

David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father, Milton Cronenberg, was a journalist and editor, and his mother, Esther (Sumberg), was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early...

Career Highlights: Fast Company (1979) Scanners (1981) The Dead Zone (1983) The Fly (1986) Dead Ringers (1988) A History of Violence (2005) Eastern Promises (2007) A Dangerous Method (2011)

88. Cameron Crowe

Writer | Almost Famous

Certainly idiosyncratic as a writer, Cameron Crowe has created a series of scripts that, while liked by the critics, were considered offbeat and difficult to market.

Cameron Bruce Crowe was born in Palm Springs, California, to Alice Marie Crowe (née George), a teacher and activist, and James A. ...

Career Highlights: Jerry Maguire (1996) Almost Famous (2000) Vanilla Sky (2001) Say Anything... (1989) Singles (1992) We Bought a Zoo (2011)

89. Alfonso Cuarón

Writer | Gravity

Alfonso Cuarón Orozco was born on November 28th in Mexico City, Mexico. From an early age, he yearned to be either a film director or an astronaut. However, he did not want to enter the army, so he settled for directing. He didn't receive his first camera until his twelfth birthday, and then ...

Career Highlights: A Little Princess (1995) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) Gravity (2013)

90. George Cukor

Director | My Fair Lady

George Cukor was an American film director of Hungarian-Jewish descent, better known for directing comedies and literary adaptations. He once won the Academy Award for Best Director, and was nominated other four times for the same Award.

In 1899, George Dewey Cukor was born on the Lower East Side of...

Career Highlights: My Fair Lady (1964) Born Yesterday (1950) Gaslight (1944) The Philadelphia Story (1940)

91. Michael Curtiz

Director | Casablanca

Curtiz began acting in and then directing films in his native Hungary in 1912. After WWI, he continued his filmmaking career in Austria and Germany and into the early 1920s when he directed films in other countries in Europe. Moving to the US in 1926, he started making films in Hollywood for Warner...

Career Highlights: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960) White Christmas (1954) The Jazz Singer (1952) Romance on the High Seas (1948) Casablanca (1942) Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) Captain Blood (1935) Mandalay (1934) Noah's Ark (1928) Avalanche (1923) Golddigger (1914)

92. Joe D'Amato

Director | Ator l'invincibile

Joe D'Amato was born Aristide Massaccesi on December 15, 1936, in Rome, Italy. At age 14 he began working for his father, a chief electrician and later the founder of the company A.C.M. By going to school in the daytime, Massaccesi worked afternoons part-time as a stagehand and stage cameraman ...

Career Highlights: Emanuelle's Revenge (1975) Emanuelle in Bangkok (1976) Emanuelle in America (1977) Emanuelle Around the World (1977) Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977) Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade (1978)

93. Lee Daniels

Producer | Precious

Lee Daniels gave his parents an early Christmas present when he entered the world on December 24, 1959; unfortunately, the Philadelphia native was to have a difficult relationship with his police officer father who later reacted violently to his son's sexuality. Despite the brutality of his ...

Career Highlights: The Butler (2013) Precious (2009)

94. Joe Dante

Director | Innerspace

Joe Dante is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art. After a stint as a film reviewer, he began his filmmaking apprenticeship in 1974 as trailer editor for Roger Corman's New World Pictures. He made his directorial debut in 1976 with Hollywood Boulevard (1976) (co-directed with Allan Arkush)...

Career Highlights: Matinee (1993) Innerspace (1987) Gremlins (1984) The Howling (1981) Piranha (1978)

95. Frank Darabont

Writer | The Green Mile

Three-time Oscar nominee Frank Darabont was born in a refugee camp in 1959 in Montbeliard, France, the son of Hungarian parents who had fled Budapest during the failed 1956 Hungarian revolution. Brought to America as an infant, he settled with his family in Los Angeles and attended Hollywood High ...

Career Highlights: The Mist (2007) The Green Mile (1999) The Shawshank Redemption (1994) The Walking Dead (2010-2011)

96. Andrew Davis

Director | The Fugitive

Director/Producer/Writer) Andrew Davis is a filmmaker with a reputation for directing intelligent thrillers, most notably the Academy Award-nominated box-office hit The Fugitive (1993), starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. The film received seven Academy Award nominations including Best ...

Career Highlights: Holes (2003) The Fugitive (1993) Under Siege (1992)

97. J. Searle Dawley

Director | Rich Man, Poor Man

J. Searle Dawley, the man who considered himself "the first motion picture director", was born James Searle Dawley on May 13, 1877, in Del Norte, Colorado. He was educated in Denver, and after graduating in 1895, became an actor with Louis Morrison's stock theatrical company. The tour he was hired ...

Career Highlights: Snow White (1916) An American Citizen (1914) An Hour Before Dawn (1913) The Daughter of the Hills (1913) A Christmas Carol (1910) Frankenstein (1910) The Boston Tea Party (1908)

98. Jonathan Dayton

Director | Little Miss Sunshine

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have built an impressive body of work by perpetually seeking innovative projects in a variety of mediums.

After introducing bands such as R.E.M. and Red Hot Chili Peppers on their ground-breaking MTV show The Cutting Edge (1992), Jonathan and Valerie continued to ...

Career Highlights: Little Miss Sunshine (2006) Ruby Sparks (2012)

99. Jan de Bont

Director | Speed

Jan de Bont was born in the Netherlands to a Roman Catholic Dutch family on the 22 of October 1943. He has always had a creative mind and good mentality for camera techniques and soon got into film as a popular cinematographer. He worked on a huge number of films before finding himself on the ...

Career Highlights: Speed (1994) Twister (1996)

100. Guillermo del Toro

Writer | El laberinto del fauno

Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his ...

Career Highlights: Cronos (1993) The Devil's Backbone (2001) Hellboy (2004) Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008) Pacific Rim (2013)

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