Steven Spielberg Biography

This Steven Spielberg biography is chock full of information that may inspire you to take up a career in film as well. How did Steven Spielberg become the most successful movie director of all time?

He Started Young
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Steven Spielberg developed an interest in movies when he was quite young. Speilberg began making films at the age of 12, showing them in his home and charging admission to the viewers. His first film was an 8-minute western; his second film was a 40-minute war movie. His third film, finished at age 16, was a 140-minute science fiction film based on a story his younger sister wrote.

He Relied on Autobiographical Experiences
Spielberg's movies always have an emotionally appealing side. Even when he was young, Spielberg pulled from his experiences within his family, playing up the sadness of children with absent fathers and the need for involved mothers. Spielberg's parents divorced when he was 15, leaving him estranged from his father for the next several years of his life.

He Took Risks
Spielberg was turned down by the University of Southern California's film school, so he studied English at California State University in Long Beach. While in college, he made a 26-minute film entitled Amblin that he submitted to the Atlanta Film Festival. The film placed at the festival and landed him a contract with Universal Studios. To finance this film, Spielberg had to borrow a significant amount of money: $15,000. His financial situation with this lender later resulted in a messy lawsuit.

He Started With Television
Spielberg's first director gigs were all episodes of television shows: "Marcus Welby MD," "The Psychiatrist," "Rod Serling's Night Gallery," "The Name of the Game" and "Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law." However, his first television movie is what drew the most attention. Duel featured a travelling salesman who is terrorized by a truck driver on the open highway. After Duel, Spielberg churned out Something Evil, Savage and Sugarland Express. Spielberg won an award as best co-writer for Sugarland Express at the Cannes Film Festival.

He Made His Big Break
Spielberg made his first truly big splash with Jaws. With a very limited budget, challenging sets and a mechanical shark that often failed to work, Spielberg managed to create a suspenseful movie that sent everyone running off beaches and into movie theaters. Spielberg's $8.5-million film turned in $260 million in sales, making Spielberg a rising star in Hollywood.

He Finally Got to Have Fun
After the success of Jaws, Spielberg was given license to do as he pleased, so he made Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which was also a smash hit. Aside from one failure, the comedy 1941, Spielberg went on to make movies that were appreciated by audiences all over the world.

Spielberg has directed some of the world's most loved and quoted movies, including E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poltergeist, The Color Purple, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, among others.

Spielberg is still behind blockbuster movies today, though it's usually as a producer rather than a director. With each new film that includes his name in the credits, Speilberg proves that he has the knack for finding stories we will love and bringing them to the big screen.

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Steven Spielberg and history go hand in hand in Hollywood. Learn about the Steven Spielberg biography and see our picks for the best Steven Spielberg movies.

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