100 Greatest Jewish directors

by Rafou | created - 01 Sep 2012 | updated - 27 Jun 2014 | Public

1. Woody Allen

Writer | Manhattan

Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...

2. Sidney Lumet

Director | 12 Angry Men

Sidney Lumet was a master of cinema, best known for his technical knowledge and his skill at getting first-rate performances from his actors -- and for shooting most of his films in his beloved New York. He made over 40 movies, often complex and emotional, but seldom overly sentimental. Although ...

3. Billy Wilder

Writer | The Apartment

Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city's largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929 and wrote scripts for many ...

4. Stanley Kubrick

Director | 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would ...

5. Michael Curtiz

Director | Casablanca

Curtiz began acting in and then directing films in his native Hungary in 1912. After WWI, he continued his filmmaking career in Austria and Germany and into the early 1920s when he directed films in other countries in Europe. Moving to the US in 1926, he started making films in Hollywood for Warner...

6. Milos Forman

Director | One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Milos Forman was born Jan Tomas Forman in Caslav, Czechoslovakia, to Anna (Svabova), who ran a summer hotel, and Rudolf Forman, a professor. During World War II, his parents were taken away by the Nazis, after being accused of participating in the underground resistance. His father died in ...

7. Ernst Lubitsch

Director | To Be or Not to Be

From Ernst Lubitsch's experiences in Sophien Gymnasium (high school) theater, he decided to leave school at the age of 16 and pursue a career on the stage. He had to compromise with his father and keep the account books for the family tailor business while he acted in cabarets and music halls at ...

8. Fritz Lang

Actor | Le mépris

Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1890. His father managed a construction company. His mother, Pauline Schlesinger, was Jewish but converted to Catholicism when Lang was ten. After high school, he enrolled briefly at the Technische Hochschule Wien and then started to train as a painter. ...

9. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Schindler's List

One of the most influential personalities in the history of cinema, Steven Spielberg is Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. He has an extraordinary number of commercially successful and critically acclaimed credits to his name, either as a director, ...

10. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Writer | All About Eve

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on February 11, 1909, Joseph Leo Mankiewicz first worked for the movies as a translator of intertitles, employed by Paramount in Berlin, the UFA's American distributor at the time (1928). He became a dialoguist, then a screenwriter on numerous Paramount ...

11. Bob Rafelson

Producer | Five Easy Pieces

Bob Rafelson is an American film director, writer and producer. He is regarded as one of the founders of the New Hollywood movement in the 1970s. Among his best-known films are Five Easy Pieces (1970), The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981).

He was also one of ...

12. Joel Coen

Writer | Fargo

Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for Fargo (1996), A Serious Man (2009) and Blood Simple (1984). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.

13. Jules Dassin

Director | Pote tin Kyriaki

Jules Dassin was an Academy Award-nominated director, screenwriter and actor best known for his films Rififi (1955), Never on Sunday (1960), and Topkapi (1964).

He was born Julius Samuel Dassin on 18 December 1911, in Middletown, Connecticut, USA. He was one of eight children of Russian-Jewish ...

14. Roman Polanski

Director | Chinatown

Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933. His parents returned to Poland from France in 1936, three years ...

15. David Cronenberg

Director | The Fly

David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father, Milton Cronenberg, was a journalist and editor, and his mother, Esther (Sumberg), was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early...

16. Otto Preminger

Director | Anatomy of a Murder

Otto Ludwig Preminger was born in Wiznitz, Bukovina, Austria-Hungary. His father was a prosecutor, and Otto originally intended to follow his father into a law career; however, he fell in love with the theater and became a stage director. He directed his first film in 1931, and came to the US in ...

17. Sam Raimi

Director | Spider-Man

Highly inventive U.S. film director/producer/writer/actor Sam Raimi first came to the attention of film fans with the savage, yet darkly humorous, low-budget horror film, The Evil Dead (1981). From his childhood, Raimi was a fan of the cinema and, before he was ten-years-old, he was out making ...

18. Ivan Reitman

Producer | Up in the Air

Ivan Reitman, as a producer and director, has created many of American cinema's most successful and best loved feature film comedies and has worked with Hollywood's acting elite. Reitman has produced such hits as the ground-breaking sensation National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), which introduced ...

19. Arthur Penn

Director | Bonnie and Clyde

Arthur Penn was born on September 27, 1922 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He was a director and producer, known for Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Little Big Man (1970) and The Miracle Worker (1962). He was married to Peggy Maurer. He died on September 28, 2010 in Manhattan, New York City, New York,...

20. George Cukor

Director | My Fair Lady

George Cukor was born on July 7, 1899 in Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as George Dewey Cukor. He is known for his work on My Fair Lady (1964), The Philadelphia Story (1940) and Les Girls (1957). He died on January 24, 1983 in Beverly Grove, Los Angeles, California, USA.

21. William Wyler

Director | The Best Years of Our Lives

William Wyler was an American filmmaker who, at the time of his death in 1981, was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema. The winner of three Best Director Academy Awards, second again only to Ford's four, Wyler's reputation has unfairly suffered as the ...

22. Mike Leigh

Director | Happy-Go-Lucky

Mike Leigh was born on February 20, 1943 in Salford, Greater Manchester, England. He is a director and writer, known for Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), Secrets & Lies (1996) and Another Year (2010). He was previously married to Alison Steadman.

23. Michael Mann

Producer | The Insider

A student of London's International Film School, Michael Mann began his career in the late 70s, writing for TV shows like Starsky and Hutch (1975). He directed his first film, the award-winning prison drama The Jericho Mile (1979), in 1979. He followed that in 1981 with his first theatrical release,...

24. Rob Reiner

Actor | All in the Family

Robert Reiner was born in New York City, to Estelle Reiner (née Lebost) and Emmy-winning actor, comedian, writer, and producer Carl Reiner.

As a child, he often looked up to his father as his inspiration and role-model. Carl Reiner was on The Dick Van Dyke Show, which he created and also starred in....

25. Darren Aronofsky

Director | Pi

Darren Aronofsky was born February 12, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, Darren was always artistic: he loved classic movies and, as a teenager, he even spent time doing graffiti art. After high school, Darren went to Harvard University to study film (both live-action and animation). He won ...

26. Sam Mendes

Producer | Road to Perdition

Samuel Alexander Mendes was born on August 1, 1965 in Reading, England, UK to parents James Peter Mendes, a retired university lecturer, and Valerie Helene Mendes, an author who writes children's books. Their marriage didn't last long, James divorced Sam's mother in 1970 when Sam was just 5-...

27. Mel Brooks

Actor | Spaceballs

Mel Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in WWII, and afterwards got a job playing the drums at nightclubs in the Catskills. Brooks eventually started a comedy act and also worked in radio and as Master Entertainer at Grossinger's Resort before going to ...

28. Josef von Sternberg

Director | The Devil Is a Woman

Josef von Sternberg split his childhood between Vienna and New York City. His father, a former soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army, could not support his family in either city; Sternberg remembered him only as "an enormously strong man who often used his strength on me." Forced by poverty to drop ...

29. Erich von Stroheim

Actor | Sunset Blvd.

Erich von Stroheim was born Erich Oswald Stroheim in 1885, in Vienna, Austria, to Johanna (Bondy), from Prague, and Benno Stroheim, a hatter from Gleiwitz, Germany (now Gliwice, Poland). His family was Jewish.

After spending some time working in his father's hat factory, he emigrated to America ...

30. Paul Newman

Actor | The Hustler

Screen legend, superstar, and the man with the most famous blue eyes in movie history, Paul Leonard Newman was born on January 26, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio, the second son of Theresa (Fetsko) and Arthur Sigmund Newman. Paul's father was Jewish, the son of emigrants from Poland and Hungary; he owned...

31. Oliver Stone

Producer | JFK

Oliver Stone has become known as a master of controversial subjects and a legendary film maker. His films are filled with a variety of film angles and styles, he pushes his actors to give Oscar-worthy performances, and despite his failures, has always returned to success.

William Oliver Stone was ...

32. Bryan Singer

Director | X-Men

Bryan Singer was born on September 17, 1965 in New York City, New York, USA as Bryan Jay Singer. He is a producer and director, known for X-Men (2000), The Usual Suspects (1995) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).

33. J.J. Abrams

Producer | Lost

Jeffrey Jacob Abrams was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, the son of TV producer parents. Abrams planned on going to dental school, but decided to study film at Sarah Lawrence College. At 15, he wrote the music for Don Dohler's Nightbeast (1982). In his senior year, he and Jill ...

34. Stanley Donen

Director | Charade

Since he was a child, Stanley Donen attended dance classes and debuted on Broadway at age 17. With the help of the producer Arthur Freed and the actor Gene Kelly he got the chance to direct the musicals On the Town (1949), Singin' in the Rain (1952), and Love Is Better Than Ever (1952) which ...

35. Jason Reitman

Producer | Up in the Air

Jason Reitman was born on October 19, 1977 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Up in the Air (2009), Thank You for Smoking (2005) and Juno (2007). He was previously married to Michele Lee.

36. Don Siegel

Director | Dirty Harry

Don Siegel was educated at Cambridge University, England. In Hollywood from the mid-'30s, he began his career as an editor and second unit director. In 1945 he directed two shorts (Hitler Lives (1945) and Star in the Night (1945)) which both won Academy Awards. His first feature as a director was ...

37. Jean-Pierre Melville

Actor | À bout de souffle

The name "Melville" is not immediately associated with film. It conjures up images of white whales and crackbrained captains, of naysaying notaries and soup-spilling sailors. It is the countersign to a realm of men and their deeds, both heroic and villainous. It is the American novel, with its ...

38. Fred Zinnemann

Director | A Man for All Seasons

Initially grew up wanting to be a violinist, but while at the University of Vienna decided to study law. While doing so, he became increasingly interested in American film and decided that was what he wanted to do. He became involved in European filmaking for a short time before going to America to...

39. Mike Nichols

Director | The Graduate

He, along with the other members of the "Compass Players" including Elaine May, Paul Sills, Byrne Piven, Joyce Hiller Piven and Edward Asner helped start the famed "Second City Improv" company. They used the games taught to them by fellow cast mate, Paul Sills 's mother, Viola Spolin. He later ...

40. Barry Levinson

Director | Rain Man

Barry Levinson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Violet (Krichinsky) and Irvin Levinson, who worked in furniture and appliance. He is of Russian Jewish descent. Levinson graduated from high school in 1960, attended college at American University in Washington, DC. He did well, but decided he ...

41. Lewis Milestone

Director | All Quiet on the Western Front

Lewis Milestone, a clothing manufacturer's son, was born in Bessarabia (now Moldova), raised in Odessa (Ukraine) and educated in Belgium and Berlin (where he studied engineering). He was fluent in both German and Russian and an avid reader. Milestone had an affinity for the theatre from an early ...

42. István Szabó

Director | Sunshine

Istvan Svabo was the first Hungarian director to win an Oscar (Although a Hungarian-American director, Michael Curtiz [Mihaly Kertesz], also won an Oscar previously for directing Casablanca). He received the award for his 1981 movie Mephisto. In January 2006, it became public that he had been an ...

43. John Frankenheimer

Director | The Manchurian Candidate

Born in New York and raised in Queens, John Frankenheimer wanted to become a professional tennis player. He loved movies and his favorite actor was Robert Mitchum. He decided he wanted to be an actor but then he applied for and was accepted in the Motion Picture Squadron of the Air Force where he ...

44. Samuel Fuller

Writer | The Steel Helmet

At age 17, Samuel Fuller was the youngest reporter ever to be in charge of the events section of the New York Journal. After having participated in the European battle theater in World War II, he directed some minor action productions for which he mostly wrote the scripts himself and which he also ...

45. William Friedkin

Director | The French Connection

Friedkin's mother was an operating room nurse. His father was a merchant seaman, semi-pro softball player and ultimately sold clothes in a men's discount chain. Ultimately, his father never earned more than $50/week in his whole life and died indigent. Eventually young Will became infatuated with ...

46. Stanley Kramer

Producer | Judgment at Nuremberg

Stanley Kramer was born on September 29, 1913 in Hell's Kitchen [now Clinton], Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as Stanley Earl Abramson. He was a producer and director, known for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and On the Beach (1959). He was married to ...

47. Marcel Ophüls

Director | The Memory of Justice

Marcel Ophüls was born on November 1, 1927 in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany as Hans Marcel Oppenheimer. He is a director and writer, known for The Memory of Justice (1976), Veillées d'armes (1994) and Hôtel Terminus (1988).

48. Alejandro Jodorowsky

Writer | La montaña sagrada

Alejandro Jodorowsky was born in Iquique, Chile on February 7, 1929. In 1942 he moved to Santiago where he attended university, was a circus clown and a puppeteer. In 1955 he went to Paris and studied mime with Marcel Marceau. He worked with Maurice Chevalier there and made a short film, La cravate...

49. William Klein

Director | Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo?

William Klein was born on April 19, 1928 in New York City, New York, USA. He is a director and writer, known for Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? (1966), Le couple témoin (1977) and Mr. Freedom (1968).

50. Frederick Wiseman

Director | Titicut Follies

Born in 1930, Wiseman is a Cambridge, Massachusetts resident and member of the Massachusetts Bar Association who turned to filmmaking in 1967, after years as an instructor and/or researcher at Boston University, Brandeis University, and Harvard. In 1970 he founded Zipporah Films, Inc., which ...

51. Barry Sonnenfeld

Director | Men in Black

Barry Sonnenfeld was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from New York University of Film School in 1978. He started work as director of photography on the Oscar-nominated In Our Water (1982). Then Joel Coen and Ethan Coen hired him for Blood Simple (1984). This film began his ...

52. Serge Gainsbourg

Composer | Équateur

Serge Gainsbourg was born on April 2, 1928 in Paris, France as Lucien Ginsburg. He was married to Françoise Pancrazzi and Élisabeth Levitzky. He died on March 2, 1991 in Paris.

53. Gérard Oury

Writer | Le corniaud

Gérard Oury was born on April 29, 1919 in Paris, France as Max-Gérard Houry. He was an actor and writer, known for The Sucker (1965), The Mad Adventures of 'Rabbi' Jacob (1973) and La Grande Vadrouille (1966). He was married to Michèle Morgan. He died on July 19, 2006 in Saint-Tropez, Var, France.

54. Olivier Assayas

Writer | Personal Shopper

Olivier Assayas is a French film director, screenwriter and film critic. He is best know for his films Demonlover (2002), Something in the Air (2012), Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) and Personal Shopper (2016).

Assayas is the son of French director/screenwriter Raymond Assayas, alias Jacques Rémy.

His ...

55. Olivier Dahan

Director | La môme

Olivier Dahan was born on June 26, 1967 in La Ciotat, Bouches-du-Rhône, France. He is a director and writer, known for La Vie en Rose (2007), La vie promise (2002) and Sold.

56. Claude Berri

Writer | Jean de Florette

Claude Berri was born on July 1, 1934 in Paris, France as Claude Berel Langmann. He was a producer and actor, known for Jean de Florette (1986), The Two of Us (1967) and Ensemble, c'est tout (2007). He was married to Anne-Marie Rassam and Sylvie Gautrelet. He died on January 12, 2009 in Paris.

57. Claude Zidi

Writer | Les ripoux

Claude Zidi was born on July 25, 1934 in Paris, France. He is a writer and director, known for My New Partner (1984), True Lies (1994) and Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar (1999).

58. Alan J. Pakula

Producer | Sophie's Choice

Alan J. Pakula was born on April 7, 1928 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Alan Jay Pakula. He was a producer and director, known for Sophie's Choice (1982), All the President's Men (1976) and Presumed Innocent (1990). He was married to Hannah Pakula and Hope Lange. He died on November ...

59. Anatole Litvak

Director | The Snake Pit

The distinguished film director Anatole Litvak was born in the Ukrainian city of Kiev, the son of Jewish parents. His very first job was as a stage hand. In 1915, he became an actor, performing at a little-known experimental theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a teenager, he witnessed the 1917 ...

60. Charlie Kaufman

Writer | Anomalisa

Avid reader Charlie Kaufman wrote plays and made short films as a young student. He moved from Massapequa, New York to West Hartford, Connecticut in 1972 where he attended high school. As a comedic actor, he performed in school plays and, after graduation, he enrolled at Boston University but soon ...

61. Todd Solondz

Director | Welcome to the Dollhouse

Todd Solondz was born in Newark, New Jersey. One of his earliest jobs in the film industry was when, as a young man, he worked as a messenger for the Writers' Guild of America. During this time, he wrote several screenplays.

Solondz's first color film with sync sound was the short "Schatt's Last ...

62. Jerry Zucker

Producer | Airplane!

Jerry Zucker was born on March 11, 1950 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. He is a producer and writer, known for Airplane! (1980), Ghost (1990) and Top Secret! (1984). He has been married to Janet Zucker since May 1987. They have two children.

63. David Zucker

Writer | Airplane!

David Zucker was born on October 16, 1947 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Airplane! (1980), Top Secret! (1984) and The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991). He has been married to Danielle Zucker since May 1997. They have two children.

64. Jim Abrahams

Writer | Airplane!

Jim Abrahams was born on May 10, 1944 in Shorewood, Wisconsin, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Airplane! (1980), Top Secret! (1984) and Police Squad! (1982). He is married to Nancy Cocuzzo.

65. Jerry Lewis

Actor | The Nutty Professor

Jerry Lewis (born March 16, 1926) was an American comedian, actor, singer, film producer, screenwriter and film director. He is known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He was originally paired up with Dean Martin in 1946, forming the famed comedy team of Martin and Lewis...

66. David Mamet

Writer | House of Games

David Mamet was born on November 30, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as David Alan Mamet. He is a writer and producer, known for House of Games (1987), State and Main (2000) and Wag the Dog (1997). He has been married to Rebecca Pidgeon since September 22, 1991. They have two children. He was ...

67. David Schwimmer

Actor | Friends

Born in New York and raised in Los Angeles, Schwimmer was encouraged by a high school instructor to attend a summer program in acting at Northwestern University. Inspired by that experience, he returned to Northwestern where he received a bachelor's degree in speech/theater. In 1988, along with ...

68. Harold Ramis

Writer | Ghost Busters

Born on November 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, Harold Allen Ramis got his start in comedy as Playboy magazine's joke editor and reviewer. In 1969, he joined Chicago's Second City's Improvisational Theatre Troupe before moving to New York to help write and perform in "The National Lampoon Show" ...

69. James Franco

Actor | 127 Hours

Known for his breakthrough starring role on Freaks and Geeks (1999), James Franco was born April 19, 1978 in Palo Alto, California, to Betsy Franco, a writer, artist, and actress, and Douglas Eugene "Doug" Franco, who ran a Silicon Valley business. His mother is Jewish and his father was of ...

70. Sean Penn

Actor | Mystic River

Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints.

Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the ...

71. Jerry Schatzberg

Director | Scarecrow

Before going on to direct films in the 1970s, Jerry Schatzberg had already established a career as a professional photographer. His work appeared in many magazines including 'Vogue' and 'McCall's'.

72. John Landis

Director | The Blues Brothers

John Landis began his career in the mail room of 20th Century-Fox. A high-school dropout, 18-year-old Landis made his way to Yugoslavia to work as a production assistant on Kelly's Heroes (1970). Remaining in Europe, Landis found work as an actor, extra and stuntman in many of the Spanish/Italian "...

73. John Schlesinger

Director | Midnight Cowboy

Oscar-winning director John Schlesinger, who was born in London, on February 16, 1926, was the eldest child in a solidly middle-class Jewish family. Berbard Schlesinger, his father, was a pediatrician, and his mother, Winifred, was a musician. He served in the Army in the Far East during World War ...

74. Joel Schumacher

Director | The Phantom of the Opera

Joel Schumacher was born on August 29, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA as Joel T. Schumacher. He is a director and writer, known for The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Batman & Robin (1997) and 8MM (1999).

75. Jonathan Levine

Writer | The Wackness

Jonathan Levine is a writer and director, known for The Wackness (2008), 50/50 (2011) and Snatched (2017).

76. Judd Apatow

Producer | Girls

Judd Apatow was born on December 6, 1967 in Syosset, New York, USA. He is a producer and writer, known for Girls (2012), Knocked Up (2007) and The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005). He has been married to Leslie Mann since June 9, 1997. They have two children.

77. Matthew Broderick

Actor | The Producers

A slight comic actor chiefly known for his boyish charm, Matthew Broderick was born on March 21, 1962 in New York City, to Patricia Broderick (née Biow), a playwright and painter, and James Broderick, an actor. His father had Irish and English ancestry, and his mother was from a Jewish family (from...

78. Morris Engel

Director | Little Fugitive

Morris Engel was born on April 8, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. He was a director and cinematographer, known for Little Fugitive (1953), Weddings and Babies (1958) and Lovers and Lollipops (1956). He was married to Ruth Orkin. He died on March 5, 2005 in New York City.

79. Nancy Meyers

Writer | It's Complicated

Nancy Meyers was born on December 8, 1949 in Pennsylvania, USA as Nancy Jane Meyers. She is a writer and producer, known for It's Complicated (2009), Something's Gotta Give (2003) and The Holiday (2006). She was previously married to Charles Shyer.

80. Michel Hazanavicius

Writer | The Artist

Michel Hazanavicius was born and raised in Paris, France. His grandparents were originally from Lithuania, but relocated to France in the 1920s. Hazanavicius attended art school, and moved on to work as a director for commercials and television projects. In 1999, he wrote and directed his first ...

81. Peter Bogdanovich

Director | The Last Picture Show

Peter Bogdanovich was conceived in Europe but born in Kingston, New York. He is the son of immigrants fleeing the Nazis, Herma (Robinson) and Borislav Bogdanovich, a painter and pianist. His father was a Serbian Orthodox Christian, and his mother was from a rich Austrian Jewish family. Peter ...

82. Ralph Bakshi

Director | Wizards

Ralph Bakshi worked his way up from Brooklyn and became an animation legend. Born on October 29, 1938, in Haifa, Bakshi grew up in Brownsville after his family came to New York to escape World War II. Bakshi attended the Thomas Jefferson High School and was later transferred to the High School of ...

83. Philip Kaufman

Writer | The Right Stuff

Director and screenwriter Philip Kaufman was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the University of Chicago and later Harvard Law School. He won the Prix de la Nouvelle Critique at Cannes in 1965 for his film Goldstein (1964). He was the screenwriter for The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) and was to ...

84. Richard Brooks

Writer | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Richard Brooks was an Academy Award-winning film writer who also earned six Oscar nominations and achieved success as a film director and producer.

He was born Ruben Sax on May 18, 1912, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. He graduated from West Philadelphia HS...

85. Sacha Baron Cohen

Actor | Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

British actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen was born in Hammersmith, London. He is the son of Daniella (Weiser), a movement instructor, and Gerald Baron Cohen, a clothing store owner. His father, born in England and raised in Wales, was of Eastern European Jewish descent, while his mother was born...

86. Sydney Pollack

Director | Tootsie

Sydney Pollack was an Academy Award-winning director, producer, actor, writer and public figure, who directed and produced over 40 films.

Sydney Irwin Pollack was born July 1, 1934 in Lafayette, Indiana, USA, to Rebecca (Miller), a homemaker, and David Pollack, a professional boxer turned pharmacist...

87. Zach Braff

Actor | Garden State

Zach Braff was born and raised in South Orange, New Jersey, to Anne Hutchinson (Maynard), a clinical psychologist, and Harold Irwin Braff, a trial attorney. His father is from Russia and Austria, while Zach's mother, who is from a family with deep roots in New England. Zach attended Columbia High ...

88. Yvan Attal

Actor | Rush Hour 3

Yvan Attal was born on January 4, 1965 in Tel Aviv, Israel. He is an actor and writer, known for Rush Hour 3 (2007), Munich (2005) and Le brio (2017).

89. Cédric Kahn

Writer | La prière

Cédric Kahn was born on June 17, 1966 in Fontenay-aux-Roses, Hauts-de-Seine, France. He is a writer and director, known for La prière (2018), L'ennui (1998) and Trop de bonheur (1994).

90. Lawrence Kasdan

Writer | The Big Chill

Lawrence Kasdan was born on January 14, 1949 in Miami, Florida, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for The Big Chill (1983), Silverado (1985) and Wyatt Earp (1994). He has been married to Meg Kasdan since November 28, 1971. They have two children.

91. Jeremy Kagan

Director | The Chosen

Jeremy Kagan is a director/writer/producer of feature films and television. His credits include the box-office hits Heroes (1977), The Big Fix (1978) and The Chosen (1981). His The Journey of Natty Gann (1985) was the first US film to win a Gold Prize at the Moscow Film Festival. Other directing ...

92. Claude Lanzmann

Director | Shoah

Claude Lanzmann was born on November 27, 1925 in Bois-Colombes, Hauts-de-Seine, France. He was a director and writer, known for Shoah (1985), Sobibór, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m. (2001) and Tsahal (1994). He was married to Dominique Lanzmann-Petithory, Angelika Schrobsdorff and Judith Magre. He...

93. Paul Mazursky

Actor | An Unmarried Woman

Paul Mazursky was born on April 25, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Irwin Lawrence Mazursky. He is known for his work on An Unmarried Woman (1978), Harry and Tonto (1974) and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969). He was married to Betsy Mazursky. He died on June 30, 2014 ...

94. Robert Rossen

Writer | The Hustler

Robert Rossen was born on March 16, 1908 in New York City, New York, USA as Robert Rosen. He was a writer and director, known for The Hustler (1961), All the King's Men (1949) and Alexander the Great (1956). He was married to Susan Siegal. He died on February 18, 1966 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, ...

95. Moshé Mizrahi

Director | Ore'ach B'Onah Metah

Moshé Mizrahi was born on September 5, 1930 in Alexandria, Egypt. He was a director and writer, known for Ore'ach B'Onah Metah (1970), Madame Rosa (1977) and I Sent a Letter to My Love (1980). He was married to Michal Bat-Adam and Rahel Fabian. He died on August 3, 2018 in Tel Aviv, Israel.

96. Herbert J. Biberman

Director | Salt of the Earth

Herbert J. Biberman, the progressive producer, director and screenwriter now best known as one of the Hollywood Ten who were blacklisted by the American Film Industry for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), was born on March 4, 1900 in Philadelphia, ...

97. Larry Cohen

Writer | God Told Me To

Larry Cohen was born July 15, 1941, in Kingston, New York, a small town north of New York City. At a young age, his family moved to the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and he eventually majored in film at the historic City College of New York, graduating in 1963. An independent maverick who got his...

98. Hugo Haas

Actor | Bílá nemoc

A portly, somewhat grubby and bohemian-looking character star, Hugo Haas was one of the most celebrated Czech actors back in the 30s, a comic star who only grew in stature as he delved creatively into writing, directing and producing. The Nazi invasion forced him to leave his beloved country and ...

99. Martin Gabel

Actor | Marnie

Martin Gabel was born on June 19, 1912 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He was an actor and producer, known for Marnie (1964), The Front Page (1974) and The Lost Moment (1947). He was married to Arlene Francis. He died on May 22, 1986 in New York City, New York, USA.

100. Irvin Kershner

Director | Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

Irvin Kershner was born on April 29, 1923 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A graduate of the University of Southern California film school, Kershner began his career in 1950, producing documentaries for the United States Information Service in the Middle East. He later turned to television, directing...



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