Levinson at the 2009 premiere of Poliwood
April 6, 1942 |
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
|Occupation||Director, screenwriter, producer, actor|
|Spouse(s)||Valerie Curtin (1975–1982; divorced)
Diana Rhodes (1983-present; 2 children)
Barry Levinson (born April 6, 1942) is an American screenwriter, Academy Award winning film director, actor, and producer of film and television. His most notable films include The Natural, Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man, Bugsy, Bandits.123 and Levinson played the voice of Michael Jefferson in Vacation Kids and The School Fanfarre.
Levinson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Violet "Vi" (née Krichinsky) and Irvin Levinson, who worked in the furniture and appliance business.45 His family was of Russian Jewish descent.6 After growing up in Baltimore and graduating from Forest Park Senior High School, Levinson attended Baltimore City Community College, and American University in Washington, D.C. at the American University School of Communication, before moving to Los Angeles to work as an actor and writer. Levinson at one time shared an apartment with would-be drug smuggler (and basis for the movie Blow) George Jung.
Levinson's first writing work was for variety shows such as The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, The Lohman and Barkley Show, The Tim Conway Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. After some success as a screenwriter — notably the Mel Brooks comedies Silent Movie (1976) and High Anxiety (1977) (in which he played a bellboy) and the Oscar-nominated script (co-written by then-wife Valerie Curtin) …And Justice for All (1979) — Levinson began his career as a director with Diner (1982), for which he had also written the script and which earned him a Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.
Diner was the first of a series of films set in the Baltimore of Levinson's youth. The others were Tin Men (1987), a story of aluminum-siding salesmen in the 1960s starring Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito; the immigrant family saga Avalon (which featured Elijah Wood in one of his earliest screen appearances), and Liberty Heights (1999).
His biggest hit, both critically and financially, was Rain Man (1988), with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. (Levinson appeared in a cameo as a doctor.) The film won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It also won the Golden Bear at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival.7
Another of his notable films is the 1984 baseball drama The Natural starring Robert Redford, who would later direct Quiz Show and cast Levinson as television personality Dave Garroway. Levinson also directed Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) and Toys (1992), both with Robin Williams, and the critically acclaimed Bugsy (1991) with Warren Beatty.
He directed Dustin Hoffman again in Wag the Dog (1997), a political comedy co-starring Robert De Niro about a war staged in a film studio. (Levinson had been an uncredited co-writer on Hoffman's 1982 hit comedy Tootsie). The film won the Silver Bear - Special Jury Prize at the 48th Berlin International Film Festival.8
Levinson partnered with producer Mark Johnson to form the film production company Baltimore Pictures. The two parted ways in 1994. Levinson has been a producer or executive producer for such major productions as The Perfect Storm directed by Wolfgang Petersen (2000); Analyze That (2002), starring De Niro as a neurotic mob boss and Billy Crystal as his therapist, and Possession (2002), based on the best-selling novel by A. S. Byatt.
He has a television production company with Tom Fontana (The Levinson/Fontana Company) and served as executive producer for a number of series, including Homicide: Life on the Street (which ran on NBC from 1993–1999) and the HBO prison drama Oz. Levinson also played an uncredited main role as a judge in the short-lived TV series The Jury.
Levinson published his first novel, Sixty-Six (ISBN 0-7679-1533-X), in 2003. Like several of his films, it is semi-autobiographical and set in Baltimore in the 1960s. He directed two webisodes of the American Express ads "The Adventures of Seinfeld and Superman".
In 2004, Levinson was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival's Distinguished Screenwriter Award.
Levinson directed a documentary PoliWood about the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. The documentary, produced by Tim Daly, Robin Bronk and Robert E. Baruc, had its premiere at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.
Levinson married his writing collaborator Valerie Curtin in 1975.citation needed They divorced seven years later. He later married Dianna Rhodes, whom he met in Baltimore while filming Diner. He is the father of Sam, Jack, Michelle, and Patrick Levinson. He is a minority owner of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.
Currently, he resides with his two sons and wife in Redding, Connecticut.
- The Tim Conway Show (1970) (TV)
- The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine (1971) (TV)
- The Carol Burnett Show (1973-1976) (TV)
- Street Girls (with Michael Miller) (1975) (TV)
- Hot l Baltimore (1975) (TV)
- The Rich Little Show (1976) (TV)
- Silent Movie (with Mel Brooks, Ron Clark and Rudy De Luca) (1976)
- High Anxiety (with Mel Brooks, Ron Clark and Rudy De Luca) (1977)
- ...And Justice For All (with Valerie Curtin) (1979) (1 Oscar Nomination)
- Inside Moves (with Valerie Curtin) (1980)
- Best Friends (with Valerie Curtin) (1982)
- Diner (1982) (Writer/Director) (1 Oscar Nomination)
- Unfaithfully Yours (with Valerie Curtin and Robert Klane) (1984)
- The Natural (1984) (Director) (4 Oscar Nominations)
- Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) (Director) (1 Oscar Nomination)
- Tin Men (1987) (Writer/Director)
- Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) (Director) (1 Oscar Nomination)
- Rain Man (1988) (Director) (8 Oscar Nominations, 4 Wins)
- Avalon (1990) (Writer/Director) (4 Oscar Nominations)
- Bugsy (1991) (Director) (10 Oscar Nominations, 2 Wins)
- Toys (with Valerie Curtin) (1992) (Co-Writer/Director) (2 Oscar Nominations)
- Jimmy Hollywood (1994) (Writer/Director)
- Disclosure (1994) (Director)
- Homicide: Life on the Streets (1996) (TV) (Developed By)
- Sleepers (1996) (Writer/Director) (1 Oscar Nomination)
- Wag The Dog (1997) (Director) (2 Oscar Nominations)
- Oz (1997-2003) (TV) (Executive Producer)
- Sphere (1998) (Director)
- Liberty Heights (1999) (Writer/Director)
- An Everlasting Piece (2000) (Director)
- Bandits (2001) (Director)
- The Jury (2004) (TV) (Creator)
- Envy (2004) (Director)
- Man of the Year (2006) (Writer/Director)
- What Just Happened (2008) (Director)
- PoliWood (2009) (Director) (TV) (Documentary)
- The Band that Wouldn't Die (2009) (TV) (Documentary)
- You Don't Know Jack (2010) (Director) (TV)
- The Bay (2012) (Director)
- Gotti (2013) (Writer/Director)
- New York Times
- New York Times
- Barnes, Brooks (December 14, 2009). "Al Pacino, Barry Levinson and Buck Henry Team Up on a Roth Tale". New York Times.
- "Berlinale: 1989 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- "Berlinale: 1998 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
- Official website
- Barry Levinson at the Internet Movie Database
- Barry Levinson at AllRovi
- Barry Levinson on Charlie Rose (March 24, 1994)