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Irwin Winkler Poster

Biography

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Overview (1)

Born in New York City, New York, USA

Mini Bio (1)

Irwin Winkler's career as a producer, director and writer encompasses popular and influential movies that have impacted contemporary culture. With a passion for big, bold, meaningful stories, his films include an array of true screen classics, garnering among them 12 Academy Awards and 52 Oscar nominations.

Among Winkler's multiple nominations include five Best Picture nominations, each for a pioneering film: the tale of underdog sports triumph, Rocky, which forged one of most globally recognizable movie characters and themes in history; Raging Bull, which turned the biopic into a gritty, lyrical work of art; the history-capturing look at the U.S. space program, The Right Stuff; the iconic gangster tale, Goodfellas; and the recent The Wolf of Wall Street. Winkler is the only producer honored with three films on the American Film Institute's list of the "Top 100 Films."

Winkler was recently honored by the Producers Guild of America with the prestigious David O. Selznick Achievement Award which recognized his lifetime body of work.

In April 2016, Winkler spoke at Harvard University's Kennedy School on the political and social influence his films have had on both the U.S. and international culture.

In December 2016 The American Cinematheque held a three-day retrospective to honor Winkler by showcasing such works as Goodfellas, New York, New York and Raging Bull, culminating with an onstage conversation alongside Martin Scorsese to discuss Winkler's storied career.

Winkler most recently produced the critically acclaimed Silence with longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese, written by Jay Cocks and starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver.

In 2016 Winkler produced Creed, the latest installment of his Academy Award winning franchise, Rocky Starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan, with Ryan Coogler directing, the film garnered both commercial and critical success; earning a Golden Globe nomination and Academy Award nomination for Sylvester Stallone. The film was named Outstanding Motion Picture from the NAACP Image Awards, the Black Film Critics Circle and named as one of the top films by the National Board of Review.

In 2013, Winkler Executive Produced the Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, illustrates his continual presence as one of Hollywood's most prolific producers making an indelible impact with his ability to showcase emotional storytelling with hard hitting relevance.

For Winkler, success has come from his constant instinctual draw to fresh, current, even controversial subjects and visionary talents. As a storyteller he has been fascinated by both the dangers of corruption and the beauty of courage and compassion.

Winkler first made a resounding impact producing a series of raw, edgy human dramas that helped to define the gritty landscape of 70s and 80s cinema. Thus the the fiercely original They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, about the desperate contenders in a Depression-era dance contest, starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin, which would seal Winkler's reputation with 9 Academy Award nominations and status as a Hollywood classic.

Other highlights from this period include New York, New York, starring Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro, which produced one of the most recognizable songs in pop culture; the enduring masterpiece, Raging Bull, considered by many to be among the great cinematic works of the 20th Century and highlighted by DeNiro's Oscar winning performance; and Goodfellas, which was honored with numerous critics' awards and has become etched in filmgoers' consciousnesses as the paragon of the American crime drama.

In that era, Winkler also produced the Mafia comedy Jimmy Brolin's The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight starring Bob DeNiro ; Up The Sandbox a look at the women's movement starring Barbra Streisand; The Gambler a penetrating look at gambling addiction, starring James Caan; the stirring modern Western, Comes A Horseman teaming Caan with Jane Fonda, directed by Alan Pakula; True Confessions written by Joan Didion and John Dunne starring Robert DeNiro and Robert Duvall; the critically-acclaimed suspense thriller about a woman who discovers her father is an accused Nazi war criminal, Music Box, which earned an Oscar nomination for star Jessica Lange and the homage to the Jazz Era, Round Midnight, with Herbie Hancock winning an Academy Award for his musical composition and a Best Actor nomination for Dexter Gordon.

In 1989, Winkler made his directorial debut from his own screenplay, Guilty By Suspicion, hailed by the New York Times as "A stirring and tragic evocation of terrible times" about Hollywood's all-too-real blacklisting era. Starring Robert DeNiro as a prominent director asked to "name names" and Annette Bening as his wife, the film presaged a writing and directing career that would, like Winkler's producing career, be focused on taut human drama and politically-charged themes and nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Winkler's next directorial outing reunited him with both Robert DeNiro and Jessica Lange in the noir crime drama, Night and the City, which would close the prestigious New York Film Festival in 1992 and become a rousing critical success. He went on to direct and produce At First Sight, a romantic drama based on a true story by Dr. Oliver Sacks, starring Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino and Nathan Lane and the prescient cyber-crime thriller The Net, starring Sandra Bullock, one of the big box-office hits of 1995.

Winkler's directorial career would continue to take intriguing turns. He broached the thought-provoking question of what happens when a man suddenly faces his own mortality in the poignantly complex Life as a House, featuring a landmark performance by Kevin Kline.

Radically switching gears, Winkler next directed one of his most distinctive features, the musical biography of the legendary composer Cole Porter: De-Lovely. Featuring Golden Globe-nominated performances from Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd, as well as performances from pop and rock music talents, including Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Elvis Costello, Robbie Williams, Natalie Cole, and Diana Krall, all performing Porter's classic songs, the film was selected as the closing night gala event at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

Winkler became one of the very first American filmmakers to turn his camera on the return of U.S. veterans from the war in Iraq - when he directed and produced the provocative drama Home of the Brave, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Jessica Biel and Brian Presley.

Winker's motion picture producing career began in the late 1960s when he produced his first film, the Elvis Presley movie Double Trouble, with the legendary director Norman Taurog. Soon after, he entered into a partnership with Robert Chartoff, producing such films as the classic revenge thriller Point Blank. In 1970, an eclectic trio of Winkler/Chartoff films each made a splash at the Cannes Film Festival: Leo the Last won the Best Director prize, the counter-culture cult film, The Strawberry Statement received the Jury Award They Shoot Horses, Don't They? garnered the closing night honors.

For his contributions to the popular culture, Winkler has been the recipient of numerous American and international honors, including the Commandeur des Arts et Lettres, the French government's highest decoration for contribution to the arts. In 1989, the British Film Institute saluted him with a retrospective of his work and in 1995, Winkler became the first producer to be honored with a showcase screening of ten of his films at the Deauville Film Festival. He has also received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Chicago Film Festival, a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame and retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which had not honored a producer since their tribute to David O. Selznick in 1980. Winkler also received the National Board of Review's highest honor for Career Achievement in Producing, which Kevin Kline presented to him at their annual gala in January 2007 in New York. Winkler was a Governor of the New York City Ballet and is on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Winkler Films

Spouse (1)

Margo Winkler (1958 - present) (3 children)

Trivia (6)

Father-in-law of Sandra Nelson
Grandfather of Maya Winkler.
Worked frequently with Robert Chartoff.
Named John Ford's "The Searchers" as his all-time favorite film in an AFI poll.
Uncle of well-known computer science theorist William Gasarch.

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