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Edward Zwick

An Illinois native, Ed Zwick has made a name for himself in Hollywood as a successful screenwriter, director, and producer. His background is in film, theater, and journalism. According to his bio at the official film site for I Am Sam, which he produced, Zwick studied literature at Harvard University and wrote and directed theater productions there. He then received a Rockerfeller Fellowship to study abroad with "some of the major innovative theater companies." It was while he was in Paris that Zwick worked on Woody Allen's film Love and Death.

Zwick then attended the American Film Institute where, in 1976, he directed the award-winning short Timothy and the Angel. This landed Zwick a writing gig on the TV series Family, which then led to directing episodes and eventually becoming the show's producer during its final season.

He then directed numerous TV pilots and telepics, the most noteworthy being the still-startling Special Bulletin, which Zwick co-wrote, produced, and directed. This 1983 pseudo-documentary starring Scott Glenn utilized a War of the Worlds-like approach for a story about a nuclear attack engineered by terrorists. The film earned Zwick two Emmy Awards.

It was during the 1980s that Zwick formed his long lasting creative partnership with Marshall Herskovitz. Together they created the Emmy-winning TV series thirtysomething. Zwick and Herskovitz would subsequently team for shows like My So-Called Life, Relativity and Once and Again.

Ed Zwick finally made the leap to feature film directing with 1986's About Last Night..., a rather tepid adaptation of David Mamet's stage play Sexual Perversity in Chicago. That pic starred Brat Packers Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, as well as Jim Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins. The story was about a pair of young Chicagoans who have trouble committing to a relationship after a one night stand. About Last Night... is most memorable now as a "time capsule" flick from the Big 80s.

Zwick's next feature film was the critically acclaimed Civil War drama Glory. (More on this movie under "Must-See Film.") Glory snagged Zwick a Golden Globe directing nomination in 1990. Zwick followed Glory with the disappointing "chick flick" Leaving Normal. This 1992 buddy pic featured Christine Lahti and Meg Tilly on a journey (of self-discovery) to Alaska. The film bore the misfortune of seeming like a Thelma & Louise knock-off at the time it was released.

Zwick enjoyed box office success (and won another Golden Globe directing nom) in 1994 with Legends of the Fall. Although the romantic epic raked in a ton of dough and snagged John Toll an Oscar for his cinematography, I found Legends to be laughable; it's arguably Zwick's most disappointing effort to date. (More about this film under "Misfire.")

Zwick would reteam with his Oscar-winning Glory star Denzel Washington for his next two pictures, the 1996 Gulf War drama Courage Under Fire and the controversial thriller The Siege, which was Zwick's last feature film as a director so far. His next directing effort will be The Last Samurai, which will start shooting later this year with Tom Cruise in the lead and a script by John Logan. Zwick is also developing the Vietnam War-era project Khe Sahn with Tom Hanks and scribe Bill Broyles. Zwick had intended to direct the Katie Holmes thriller Abandon but opted to produce it instead with scribe Steven Gaghan making his directing debut.

Ed Zwick's many accolades include a Writers Guild of America award, a Directors Guild of America award, two Peabody awards, the Humanitas Prize, and the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Award from the American Film Institute.

Besides his successful film directing career, Zwick has also produced several acclaimed movies. These include the Oscar-nominated Traffic, Dangerous Beauty, I Am Sam, and Shakespeare in Love, which earned Zwick the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1998.

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