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Anthony Minghella Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (14) | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 6 January 1954Ryde, Isle of Wight, England, UK
Date of Death 18 March 2008London, England, UK  (hemorrhage following surgery)
Height 5' 8½" (1.74 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Anthony Minghella was the son of immigrants from Italy, who own an ice-cream factory on the Isle of Wight, where Anthony was born on January 6, 1954. He and his two siblings, Edana Minghella and Dominic Minghella, grew up there, a popular British holiday spot. After graduating from the University of Hull, Minghella took a position as a university lecturer, but quit academia to focus on the theater and songwriting. He oversaw the music in many of his movies.

Minghella was employed as a scriptwriter on the British TV series Maybury (1981) and Inspector Morse (1987) and, as a script editor on the British TV series Grange Hill (1978), before succeeding as a dramatist in the West End, London's equivalent of Broadway. In 1984, the London Theatre Critics named him Most Promising Playwright of the Year and, two years later, his drama "Made in Bangkok" won the the London Theatre Critics' award for best play.

An Anthony Minghella film assured movie-goers would enjoy a film blessed with a literate script, superlative performances and first-rate production values. His great craftsmanship was apparent from the beginning, with the bittersweet comedy Truly Madly Deeply (1990), in which the ghost of Alan Rickman comes back to his lady love, Juliet Stevenson, with unintended consequences. The theme of a ghostly love also was present in The English Patient (1996) his greatest success.

It is for that film he will be best remembered. Minghella claimed that with The English Patient (1996), which won nine Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, that he had reached the heights of his directing career.

In addition to his theater and film awards, in 2001, Anthony Minghella was appointed a Commander of the British Empire, a step just below knighthood, in the Queen's Birthday Honors List.

Anthony Minghella died of a hemorrhage on the morning of March 18, 2008 at Charing Cross Hospital in London, England. The 54-year-old Minghella had undergone an operation to remove a growth on his neck the previous week. He was survived by his wife, Carolyn Choa, and their two children, Max Minghella, who is an actor, and Hannah Minghella, who worked as a production assistant.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (1)

Carolyn Choa (? - 18 March 2008) (his death) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Frequently worked with Jude Law

Trivia (14)

Born to Edward Minghella, who was Italian-Scottish, and his wife Gloria, whose ancestors came from the village of Valvori near Rome; they own an ice cream factory on the Isle of Wight.
After attending the University of Hull (East Yorkshire/Humberside, England), he briefly worked as a university professor where he started writing music and plays. He won the London Theater Critics Award in 1984 for Most Promising Playwright and in 1986 for Best Play with "Made In Bangkok".
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2001 Queen's Birhtday Honours List for his services to film drama.
In 1984, the London Theatre Critics named him Most Promising Playwright of the Year.
He directed 5 actors to Oscar nominations: Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, Renée Zellweger, Juliette Binoche and Kristin Scott Thomas. Binoche and Zellwegger won for their supporting turns in The English Patient (1996) and Cold Mountain (2003), respectively.
Brother of writers Edana Minghella and Dominic Minghella.
Winner of the Giles Cooper Award in 1988 for "Cigarettes and Chocolate".
As he was a big supporter of soccer club Portsmouth FC, his home had two double bedrooms dedicated to the display of the club's memorabilia.
Father of Max Minghella and Hannah Minghella, who worked as production assistant on the set of The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999).
In 2000, he became partners with Sydney Pollack in Mirage Enterprises. They died less than three months apart.
He was a friend of Tony Blair. In 2005, he directed a party election broadcast for the Labour Party featuring Blair and Gordon Brown.
Kate Winslet dedicated her first Oscar win for The Reader (2008) to Minghella and his partner in Mirage, Sydney Pollack.
His favourite piece of music was the aria 'Mache dich, mein Herze, rein' from the St Matthew Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach. It features in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) in the scene when Ripley sets out from New York to travel to Italy.
At the time of his death, he had written the segment of New York, I Love You (2008) which features Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie and John Hurt. Due to illness, he arranged for it to be cast and directed by Shekhar Kapur. The film was dedicated to Minghella's memory. His next feature film as writer/director was to have been an adaptation of Liz Jensen's novel The Ninth Life of Louis Drax.

Personal Quotes (11)

The only lesson to extract from any civil war is that it's pointless and futile and ugly, and that there is nothing glamorous or heroic about it. There are heroes, but the causes are never heroic.
When I became the chair of the British Film Institute, I didn't understand how much of my time would be taken up with trying to make a case for the British Film Institute: what it's for, why it exists, why it needs its money.
I had never thought of myself as a director and found out that I was not. I am a writer who was able to direct the films that I write.
[from his Oscar acceptance speech, 1997] It's my daughter's 18th birthday today - happy birthday Hannah! This is a great day for the Isle of Wight today.
The thing that is most notably different about working in the US is that if you are embraced then you are completely accepted. It was quite giddy because you'd be there and Meryl Streep would come on the phone and you'd think it was your mother pretending to be Meryl Streep or maybe your sister, but it was really Meryl Streep. [2008]
I never feel more myself than when I'm writing; I never enjoy any day more than a good writing day.
[on The English Patient (1996)] I think the film is quite cruel actually and quite austere; it carries this lava of emotion on quite a formal surface. And one of the reasons why in my life I have loved Bach so much is because I think he too has this combination of an extremely formal structure and apparent austere sound, but underneath there's this emotion boiling away, and I think that one of the purposes of fiction is to exercise the emotional muscle - that's what we go for, we go to think and to feel and I think that feeling somehow in England is at a premium, that people are embarrassed to feel in public, whereas I think that's the luxury of fiction - you can inhabit areas of existence which are not your own but which afford you the possibility of being able to go to places naked really, and I feel my own nakedness in the work that I'm doing; in fact I never watch anything I've been associated with after I've done it because I feel like I'm standing there for everybody to look at, so I haven't seen The English Patient since I finished it. [1997]
I'm interested in stories which insist on a dog fails-to-eat-dog kind of world. I hate misanthropy and want to believe that there's a possibility that we might all be redeemed, that hope deferred makes the soul sick, that our humanity is fragile, funny, common, crazy, full of the longing for love, the failure of love. I want to tell stories which require something of an audience, by way of thought, argument, emotion, because I'm more often in an audience than I am a maker of films, and that's the kind of movie I want to see.
Nobody wants to make any film, ever. I mean, you can assume that every head of every studio would be perfectly happy never to make another film, because making films is dangerous, costs too much money, none of them make sense, there's absolutely no guarantee that they're going to work - the best thing is not to make any; you can't get fired for not making a film - you're going to get fired for making the wrong film. And so you realise that the first words anybody in the movies wants to say is no, and the job of the director or producer or writer is finding the area of least resistance to get the film made. There's never been any movie I've made that anybody's wanted to make, ever.
[on The English Patient (1996)] Michael Ondaatje's novel has the deceptive appearance of being completely cinematic. Brilliant images are scattered across its pages in a mosaic of fractured narratives, as if somebody had already seen a film and was in a hurry trying to remember it. In the course of a single page, the reader can be asked to consider events in Cairo, or Tuscany, or England's West Country during different periods, with different narrators; to meditate on the natures of winds, the mischief of an elbow, the intricacies of a bomb mechanism, the significance of a cave painting. The wise screen adapter approaches such pages with extreme caution. The fool rushes in. When I was writing the screenplay I thought, 'My God, what am I doing!' My friends told me the book was unadaptable. Fortunately, Michael Ondaatje was our greatest ally. He let me dismantle his novel, reimagine it and still had dinner with me and gave me good notes. I didn't do this to subvert what he'd done, but to me there was no obvious way I could make a conventional adaptation of his work. The process of adapting The English Patient required me to join the dots and make a figurative work from a pointillist and abstract one. Any number of versions were possible and I'm certain that the stories I chose to elaborate say as much about my own interests and reading as they do about the book.
[on Truly Madly Deeply (1990)] For good or bad, that's the film that's mattered most to people. It's the film that oddly has spoken most directly to people that I meet. And it's sort of dispiriting in a way because it was a film that was painless to make, with my friends; I did very little work preparing the screenplay, it was a quick shoot, it was a painless edit, it was sort of done before I even realised it. People said to me, 'It was great the way you did this', but I can't claim the credit because at the time I didn't know how to do anything else and I only had 28 days to make it, and I've been struggling to reproduce the lack of complication that that film has ever since. It was a group of mates and a camera really.

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