Michael Cimino

Biography

Michael Cimino ( born February 3, 1939) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer and author. He is best known for directing, producing and co-writing the 1978 Academy Award-winning The Deer Hunter and the infamous Heaven's Gate. His films are characterized by their striking visual style and controversial subject matter. Origins Michael Cimino was born in New York City on February 3, 1939. A third-generation Italian-American, Cimino grew up in Old Westbury, Long Island. He was regarded as a prodigy at the private schools his parents sent him to, but rebelled against his parents by consorting with lowlifes, getting into fights and coming home drunk. Of this time, Cimino described himself as "always hanging around with kids my parents didn't approve of. Those guys were so alive. When I was fifteen I spent three weeks driving all over Brooklyn with a guy who was following his girlfriend. He was convinced she was cheating on him, and he had a gun, he was going to kill her. There was such passion and intensity about their lives. When the rich kids got together, the most we ever did was cross against a red light." His father was a music publisher. Cimino says his father was responsible for marching bands and organs playing pop music at football games. "When my father found out I went into the movie business, he didn't talk to me for a year," Cimino said. “He was very tall and thin [...] His weight never changed his whole life and he didn’t have a gray hair on his head. He was a bit like a Vanderbilt or a Whitney, one of those guys. He was the life of the party, women loved him, a real womanizer. He smoked like a fiend. He loved his martinis. He died really young. He was away a lot, but he was fun. I was just a tiny kid.” His mother, a costume designer, once told him after The Deer Hunter that she knew he was famous because his name was in the New York Times crossword puzzle. Education Cimino graduated from Westbury High School on Long Island in 1956. After graduating, he entered Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. At Michigan State, Cimino majored in graphic arts, was a member of a weight-lifting club and a group that welcomed incoming students. At Yale, Cimino continued to study painting as well as architecture and art history and became involved in school dramatics. In 1962, while still at Yale, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve. He trained for five months at Fort Dix, New Jersey and had a month of medical training in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Cimino graduated from Yale University, receiving his BFA in 1961 and his MFA in 1963, both in painting. After graduating from Yale, Cimino moved to Manhattan to work in Madison Avenue advertising and became a star director of television commercials. In 1971, Cimino moved to Los Angeles to start a career as a screenwriter. He co-wrote two scripts before moving on to film directing: the science fiction film Silent Running and Clint Eastwood's second Dirty Harry film, Magnum Force. Cimino's work on Magnum Force impressed Eastwood enough to buy Cimino's spec script called Thunderbolt and Lightfoot for Eastwood's production company, Malpaso. Cimino moved up to directing on the feature Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974). With the success of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Cimino says he "got a lot of offers, but decided to take a gamble. I would only get involved with projects I really wanted to do." He rejected several offers before pitching an ambitious Vietnam War film to EMI executives in November 1976. To Cimino's surprise, EMI accepted the film. Cimino went on to direct, co-write, and co-produce The Deer Hunter (1978). The film stars Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and John Savage as three buddies in a Pennsylvania steel mill town who fight in the Vietnam War and rebuild their lives in the aftermath. The film went over-schedule and over-budget, but it became a massive critical and commercial success, and won five Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture for Cimino. Cimino was given free rein by United Artists for his next film, Heaven's Gate (1980). Cimino directed The Sicilian from a Mario Puzo novel in 1987. Cimino directed a remake of the Humphrey Bogart film The Desperate Hours in 1990, starring Anthony Hopkins and Mickey Rourke. Cimino's last feature-length film was 1996's Sunchaser with Woody Harrelson and Jon Seda. Filmography 1972 Silent Running Co-Writer Screenwriting 1973 Magnum Force Co-Writer 1974 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Director/Writer 1978 The Deer Hunter Director/Co-Writer/Co-Producer 1979 The Rose Writer (uncredited) 1980 Heaven's Gate Director/Writer 1981 The Dogs of War Writer (uncredited) 1985 Year of the Dragon Director/Co-Writer 1987 The Sicilian Director 1990 Desperate Hours Director 1996 The Sunchaser Director Final feature film

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Birth Place

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Birth Date

11/10/1999
Known For
Movie Poster

Michael Cimino, God Bless America

Self - Subject (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Clint Eastwood, la dernière légende

Self - Interviewee (archive footage)

Movie Poster

The Fabulous Allan Carr

Self (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Senior Year

Lance

Movie Poster

Annabelle Comes Home

Bob Palmeri

Starring In
Movie Poster

Clint Eastwood, la dernière légende

Self - Interviewee (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Senior Year

Lance

Movie Poster

Michael Cimino, God Bless America

Self - Subject (archive footage)

Movie Poster

Annabelle Comes Home

Bob Palmeri

Movie Poster

The Fabulous Allan Carr

Self (archive footage)

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