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Who is Steven Spielberg?

Steven Spielberg has directed several Oscar-winning films.
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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 30 July 2014
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Steven Allan Spielberg was born on 18 December 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His passion for movies started at an early age – at nine, Steven Spielberg was already creating 8mm "action" movies, and at the age of 13, he won a local contest with a homemade 45-minute war documentary. Three years later, Spielberg directed his first feature film, Firelight. Shot on a budget of 400 US Dollars (USD), the movie was shown at a local movie theater and generated about 100 USD in profits. Firelight later became the inspiration for Spielburg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Steven Spielberg was attending California State University when he was offered a contract at Universal Studios to direct television shows. Spielberg dropped out and took the post. After this, Spielberg produced episodes for several TV shows, including Night Gallery, Marcus Welby M.D., and the pilot for Columbo.

One of Spielberg's first full-length films was The Sugarland Express, a thriller based on a true story, but it wasn't until his next film that Spielberg became a household name. In 1975, Spielberg directed the three-time Oscar winner Jaws. Despite this success, Spielberg refused offers to direct Jaws 2 and instead went to work on his pet project, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which eventually earned him six Oscar nominations.

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The 1980s were Spielberg's golden years. He directed three Indiana Jones movies, E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Poltergeist, Empire of the Sun, and The Color Purple, which received 11 Oscar nominations. He also co-wrote and produced The Goonies, a film hugely popular still today.

In the 90s, Spielberg took a side step. After directing Jurassic Park in 1993, Spielberg temporarily abandoned the adventure realm and took on drama titles. Schindler's List, released in 1993, is considered by critics as Spielberg's masterwork, earning a spot as "One of 10 Greatest Films ever Made" (American Film Institute). Two more historical sagas followed: Amistad and Saving Private Ryan.

The new millennium has been an era of firsts for Spielberg. He tried his hand at futuristic adventures including Minority Report and AI: Artificial Intelligence before concentrating on offbeat films, such as The Terminal and Catch Me If You Can. His latest masterpiece is Munich, based on the true story of the 1972 Munich Massacre.

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