Personal detailsName: Steven Spielberg
Born: 18 December 1946 (Age: 68)
Where: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Height: 5' 7"
Awards: Won 3 Oscars, 2 BAFTAs, 2 Golden Globes
All about this star
In the fickle world of cinema, there are very few names you can splash across a billboard to ensure a film's financial success. Harrison Ford, perhaps, or Julia Roberts. George Lucas, if it's a Star Wars movie. Tom Cruise seemed a cert till Eyes Wide Shut. These names will probably make you millions, but there's only one sure-fire guarantee - Steven Spielberg. As a director, he's the most successful of all time. His films have been so popular, so consistently entertaining, that people rush to see anything tagged as A Steven Spielberg Production, even movies he merely financed. No one else has muscle like that. No one else ever has.
As a film-maker, he started early. He was born Steven Allan Spielberg on the 18th of December, 1946, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father, Arnold, was an electrical engineer involved in the development of computers, while mother Leah, a concert pianist, looked after the four children - Steven was the oldest, the others being Annie, Sue and Nancy. The family soon moved to Scottsdale, Arizona - Steven would attend Arcadia High School in Phoenix - and it was here that his love for movies (and his financial acumen) began to blossom. Perhaps unnaturally quickly, if reports that Spielberg suffered from Asperger's Syndrome are to be believed. This is a mild form of autism that leads to obsessional interests - often with very positive results.
Leah being as indulgent as Arnold was emotionally remote (many fathers in Spielberg movies are either missing or distant), Steven's interest in film-making was encouraged. By 12, he'd made his first amateur film, an 8-minute Western called The Last Gun, which Steven financed with a tree-planting business. He'd charge admission to his home movies, getting Annie to sell popcorn, and his projects rapidly became more ambitious in scale and scope. By 14, he'd made a 40-minute war film, Escape To Nowhere, on 8mm, and another short, Battle Squad, which mixed WW2 footage with sequences he'd shot at Phoenix airport. Even that young, he'd learned how to make stationary aircraft seem as if they were travelling at supersonic speed. Within two years he was working on Firelight, a 140-minute sci-fi epic, based on a story his sister Nancy had written about a UFO attack. He would, as all the world knows, return often to the subjects of war and alien life-forms.
There would be an emotional side to his story-telling, too, and a vaguely autobiographical one. Many of Spielberg's films feature kids in distress and that aforementioned distant father. This mirrors Steven's own relationship with Arnold - not a good one. On one occasion, Arnold brought a tiny transistor home, showed it to Steven and told him is was the future.