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  • The Falcon and the Snowman

  • Visions of Eight: The Olympics of Motion...

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  • Far From the Madding Crowd

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  • Yanks

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John Schlesinger Biography

  • Profession: Director
  • Born: Feb 16, 1926
  • Died: Jul 25, 2003

London-born director John Schlesinger worked steadily in both Hollywood and Britain in films, television, and on the stage. By exploring the complexities of human relationships, some of his films made it possible for later filmmakers to bring controversial subjects into the mainstream. He started making short films as a boy before attending the Uppingham School with the intent to study architecture. In 1943 he was drafted into the British army and ended up in a magic act entertaining the troops abroad. By 1947, he was back in school studying English literature at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was president of the Experimental Theatre Club. Following graduation, he worked as an actor with the Colchester Repertory Company and the Ngaio Marsh Touring Company. He continued making short films and started directing documentaries for the BBC programs Tonight and Monitor. He won a BAFTA award for his debut film Terminus, a chronicle of the Waterloo railway station. His first two feature films, [[Feature~V27362~A Kind of Loving~akindofloving]] and [[Feature~V5661~Billy Liar~billyliar]], both received critical praise from the British Academy. They also introduced Schlesinger to his longtime filmmaking allies: producer [[Performer~P95864~Joseph Janni~josephjanni]], actor [[Performer~P4517~Alan Bates~alanbates]], and actress [[Performer~P13030~Julie Christie~juliechristie]]. In 1965 he received international attention and his first Oscar nomination for the drama [[Feature~V12404~Darling~darling]] about the London fashion scene during the mod '60s. After adapting the [[Performer~P310197~Thomas Hardy~thomashardy]] novel Far From the Maddening Crowd, Schlesinger made his first American film, [[Feature~V32558~Midnight Cowboy~midnightcowboy]], starring [[Performer~P115561~Jon Voight~jonvoight]] and [[Performer~P94585~Dustin Hoffman~dustinhoffman]]. A compassionate story about friendship, it was also the first X-rated film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It also earned Schlesinger his first Oscar for Best Director. The next year, he was honored with the appointment of Commander of the British Empire by [[Performer~P58193~Queen Elizabeth II~queenelizabethii]]. Back in England, he earned his third Oscar nomination for the psychological drama [[Feature~V47683~Sunday, Bloody Sunday~sundaybloodysunday]]. Starring [[Performer~P34812~Glenda Jackson~glendajackson]], [[Performer~P23460~Peter Finch~peterfinch]], and [[Performer~P31361~Murray Head~murrayhead]], it was one of the first mainstream films to deal with homosexual themes with sensitivity and perception. During the '70s he continued directing stage productions in between his film work, eventually becoming the associate director of the National Theatre in London. After a few meager successes with the psychological thriller [[Feature~V31373~Marathon Man~marathonman]] and the war drama [[Feature~V55700~Yanks~yanks]], he moved over to television to make the well-received [[Feature~V43735~Separate Tables~separatetables]] and [[Feature~V15877~An Englishman Abroad~anenglishmanabroad]]. During the late '80s he made the spy film [[Feature~V16619~The Falcon and the Snowman~thefalconandthesnowman]] and cast [[Performer~P44255~Shirley MacLaine~shirleymaclaine]] in the choice lead role of [[Feature~V30681~Madame Sousatzka~madamesousatzka]] before making a minor comeback with the comedy [[Feature~V134967~Cold Comfort Farm~coldcomfortfarm]], based on the novel by [[Performer~P309779~Stella Gibbons~stellagibbons]]. After bringing the play The Tale of Sweeny Todd to the small screen, he made his last film, [[Feature~V184308~The Next Best Thing~thenextbestthing]], starring [[Performer~P100711~Madonna~madonna]] and [[Performer~P22333~Rupert Everett~ruperteverett]]. Schlesinger died at age 77 in Palm Springs due to complications following a severe stroke. He is survived by photographer [[Performer~P84891~Michael Childers~michaelchilders]], his companion of 36 years. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi