Steven Spielberg as a Role Model

Name: Steven Spielberg

Role Model Spotlight as: World Class Film Maker

Birthdate: December 18, 1947

Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio

Residence: Los Angeles, California USA

Family: Steven is married to actress Kate Capshaw (1991 to the present), 3 children.

Formerly married to actress Amy Irving (1985-1989), one child of Amy's from a former marriage, one together. Currently, 5 children in his family. Steven and his family live in a large expansive Mediterranean home in the Pacific Palisades section of Los Angeles, near the ocean. He and his wife Kate Capshaw and their five children lead an essentially Jewish way of life because they like its emphasis on the family.

Role Model Profile: Steven Spielberg has touched the lives of millions of people through his films. Steven is passionate about his work. Over the past 20 years he has given us many great films from Jaws, to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, to E.T., to Jurassic Park, to Men in Black (which he produced). A list of his more important films appears below. On the film set, Steven has a reputation for being very cooperative. He is always very well-prepared for his work. He knows exactly what he wants. He is kind, but quietly firm. A very busy person, he always takes time for people and for laughter. Steven does not smoke, drink or use recreational drugs. He is known for being a very private person who does not normally let the press into his life. But he has been most generous with his money in helping people less fortunate. He made the Academy Award-winning movie, Schindler's List to honor a many who saved the lives of over 1000 Jews from the prison camps in World War II.

Family: Steven's father was an electrical engineer, and a part of the team that designed the first computer. His mother was a former concert pianist. Steven was the oldest child.

Childhood: As a boy, Steven was easily frightened by things he saw on TV. Once, after seeing a documentary on snakes, he cried for hours. The first big movie that really captivated him was Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show On Earth, a spectacular on life in the circus.

Steven had a very active imagination. Skinny, sensitive, non-athletic, he was clumsy in sports and wasn't drawn toward outdoor sports. Instead, he spent much time alone in his bedroom with the door closed. This was his imagination workshop. He developed a tremendous sense of imagination from the grotesque trees outside his window to the cracks in his wall.

Steven grew to like the sensation of being scared. As he puts it, "As a kid I liked pushing myself to the brink of terror and then pulling back." He also loved to scare his sisters. He told them a story of a wartime flier's body rotting in one of the family closets. Taking a a plastic skull, he put his father's World War II aviator cap and goggles on it and put it in the back of a closet. He then dared his sisters to go into the dark closet, and when they did he closed the door. With a rigged-up device he lit up the skull from within and caused them to scream with terror. This was the early beginnings of Steven's talents. As he said: "It's amazing that they didn't kill me when we were growing up."

The family was transferred to Phoenix, Arizona and settled in Scottsdale. He tried to fit in, playing Little League, playing in the school band. About this time, Steven was officially designated the family filmmaker, since his father was not very good with a camera. It also gave him a great sense of power. As Steven puts it, "My Dad had to wait for me to say 'action' before he could put the knife into the fish to clean it." A director was born.

As a Boy Scout, Steven worked on a merit badge in photography and shot a 3-minute movie called Gunsmog (after Gunsmoke, a TV cowboy show). It was filmed in the nearby desert. His fellow scouts were actors and it had a stagecoach holdup, a sheriff and a bad guy (a dummy made of pillows and shoes) who plunged off a cliff.

Not a great student (he always had trouble with math), Steven was an obsessive amateur moviemaker and involved his whole family in the process. He got their constant support. He would show his homemade film,s charge admission, and give the profits to a local school for the handicapped. He was always sensitive to those less fortunate than himself. He once feel in a school race, to allow a mentally handicapped boy cross the line ahead of him.

Steven attended Arcadia High School, Phoenix, Arizona, and graduated from Saratoga High School outside of San Jose, California. In high school, Steven admits to being "a real nerd -- the skinny, acne-faced wimp who gets picked on by big football jocks..."

College: He applied to USC Cinema School twice and was turned down both times. His high school grades had not been high enough to get in.

His Role Model: Richard Dreyfuss, whom he calls his alter-ego

Best Quality: His passionate love of producing and directing films

Business Today: Steven became a billionaire at age 46. He is a co-founder with with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen of DreamWorks SKG, the newest, largest most exciting new Hollywood Studio in decades. They produce multimedia entertainment including motion pictures, animated films, television shows and recorded music. Spielberg is a co-producer of ER, the weekly medical drama. Also, he and Jeffrey Katzenberg are co-owners of a "deep-sea" diner called Dive! in L.A. Their $7 million restaurant specializes in over 20 different kinds of submarine sandwiches. The restaurant looks like a submarine and has Spielberg effects: the restaurant seems to submerge every 45 minutes and video monitors flash footage of an undersea dive.

Other Honors: Steven was awarded and Oscar as Best Director for Schindler's List, plus the second annual John Huston Award for Artists Rights by the Artists Rights Foundation, as well as the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.

Quote: So many grownups who have forgotten when it was like to have been a child. "...a lot of people today are losing their imagination because they are so driven by work ... and the children become almost incidental."

His goal: To continue feeling totally happy by directing, writing or producing films. Says Steven, "The only time I'm totally happy is when I'm watching films or making them."

You can write Steven care of:
Amblin Entertainment
100 Universal City Plaza 477
Universal City, CA 91608

Films of Steven Spielberg, as Director:
Duel, 1973
The Sugarland Express, 1974
Jaws, 1975
Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977
1941, 1979
Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981
E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, 1982
Twilight Zone, The Movie, 1983
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984
The Color Purple, 1985
Empire of the Sun, 1987
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989
Always, 1989
Hook, 1992
Jurassic Park, 1993
Schindler's List, 1993

Steven Spielberg's films as a Producer/Executive Producer:
I Wanna Hold Your Hand, 1978
Used Cars, 1980
Continental Divide, 1981
Poltergeist, 1982
Twilight Zone: The Movie, 1983
Gremlins, 1984
The Goonies, 1985
Back to the Future, 1985
Young Sherlock Holmes, 1985
The Money Pit, 1986
An American Tail, 1986
Innerspace, 1986
Batteries Not Included, 1987
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? 1988
Back to the Future II, 1989
Dad, 1989
Back to the Future III, 1990