Barry Lee Levinson
April 6, 1942
|Alma mater||American University|
(m. 1975;div. 1982)
|Children||3; including Sam Levinson|
Barry Lee Levinson (born April 6, 1942) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer and actor.Levinson's best-known works are mid-budget comedy-drama and drama films such as Diner (1982); The Natural (1984); Good Morning, Vietnam (1987); Bugsy (1991); and Wag the Dog (1997). He won the Academy Award for Best Director for Rain Man (1988).
Levinson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Violet "Vi" (née Krichinsky) and Irvin Levinson, who worked in the furniture and appliance business.[ citation needed ] He is of Russian-Jewish descent. After growing up in Forest Park, Baltimore and graduating from Forest Park Senior High School in 1960, Levinson attended Baltimore City Community College, and American University in Washington, D.C. at the American University School of Communication where he studied broadcast journalism. He then moved to Los Angeles to work as an actor, writer and performed comedy routines. Levinson at one time shared an apartment with would-be drug smuggler (and basis for the movie Blow ) George Jung.
Levinson's first writing work was for variety shows such as The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, The Lohman and Barkley Show, The Tim Conway Show , and The Carol Burnett Show . After some success as a screenwriter – notably the Mel Brooks comedies Silent Movie (1976) and High Anxiety (1977) (in which he played a bellboy) and the Oscar-nominated script (co-written by then-wife Valerie Curtin) ...And Justice for All (1979) – Levinson began his career as a director with Diner (1982), for which he had also written the script and which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Diner was the first of four films set in the Baltimore of Levinson's youth. The other three were Tin Men (1987), a story of aluminum-siding salesmen in the 1960s starring Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito; the immigrant family saga Avalon (1990) featuring Elijah Wood in one of his earliest screen appearances, and Liberty Heights (1999).
His biggest hit, both critically and financially, was Rain Man (1988), a sibling drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in which Levinson appeared in a cameo as a doctor. The film won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It also won the Golden Bear at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival.
Levinson directed the popular period baseball drama The Natural (1984), starring Robert Redford. Redford would later direct Quiz Show (1994), and cast Levinson as television personality Dave Garroway. Levinson also directed the classic war comedy Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), starring Robin Williams (as Adrian Cronauer), with whom he later collaborated on the fantasy Toys (1992) and the political comedy Man of the Year (2006). Levinson also directed the critically acclaimed historical crime drama Bugsy (1991), which starred Warren Beatty and was nominated for ten Academy Awards.
He directed Dustin Hoffman again in Wag the Dog (1997), a political comedy co-starring Robert De Niro about a war staged in a film studio (Levinson had been an uncredited co-writer on Hoffman's 1982 hit comedy Tootsie ). The film won the Silver Bear – Special Jury Prize at the 48th Berlin International Film Festival.
Levinson partnered with producer Mark Johnson to form the film production company Baltimore Pictures, with 1990's Avalon as the company's first production. Johnson departed the firm in 1994. Levinson has been a producer or executive producer for such major productions as The Perfect Storm (2000), directed by Wolfgang Petersen; Analyze That (2002), starring De Niro as a neurotic mob boss and Billy Crystal as his therapist, and Possession (2002), based on the best-selling novel by A. S. Byatt.
He has a television production company with Tom Fontana (The Levinson/Fontana Company) and served as executive producer for a number of series, including Homicide: Life on the Street (which ran on NBC from 1993 to 1999) and the HBO prison drama Oz . Levinson also played an uncredited main role as a judge in the short-lived TV series The Jury .
Levinson published his first novel, Sixty-Six ( ISBN 0-7679-1533-X), in 2003. Like several of his films, it is semi-autobiographical and set in Baltimore in the 1960s. In 2004 he directed the two webisodes of the American Express ads "The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman". In 2004, Levinson was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival's Distinguished Screenwriter Award. Levinson directed a documentary PoliWood about the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. The documentary, produced by Tim Daly, Robin Bronk and Robert E. Baruc, had its premiere at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.
Levinson, in 2011, was developing a film based on Whitey Bulger, the Boston crime boss.The film Black Mass (script by Jim Sheridan, Jez Butterworth, and Russell Gewirtz) is based on the book by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill, and is said to be the "true story of Billy Bulger, Whitey Bulger, FBI agent John Connelly and the FBI's witness protection program that was created by J. Edgar Hoover." Levinson later left the project.
Levinson finished production on The Humbling (2014), starring Al Pacino. Levinson also directed Rock the Kasbah (2015), written by Mitch Glazer.The film starred Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Scott Caan, Danny McBride, Kelly Lynch, Arian Moayed, Taylor Kinney, and Beejan Land.
In 2010 Levinson received the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement, which is the lifetime achievement award from the Writers Guild of America.
|1979||...And Justice for All.||Yes||Nominated- Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay|
|Diner||Yes||Executive||Yes|| Directorial Debut;|
Nominated- Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
|1985||Young Sherlock Holmes||Yes|
|Good Morning, Vietnam||Yes|
|1988||Rain Man||Yes|| Academy Award for Best Director |
Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Director
|1990||Avalon||Yes||Yes||Yes||Nominated- Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay |
Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
|1991||Bugsy||Yes||Yes|| Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama |
Nominated- Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated- Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Director
|1992||Toys||Yes||Yes||Yes||Nominated- Razzie Award for Worst Director|
|1997||Wag the Dog||Yes||Yes||Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy|
|2000||An Everlasting Piece||Yes||Yes|
|2006||Man of the Year||Yes||Yes|
|2008||What Just Happened||Yes||Yes|
|The Band That Wouldn't Die||Yes||Creator|
|2015||Rock the Kasbah||Yes|
Executive producer only
|1981||History of the World, Part I||Column Salesman|
|1994||Jimmy Hollywood||Director of Life Story|
|Quiz Show||Dave Garroway|
|1999||Original Diner Guys||Himself||Documentary|
|2007||Bee Movie||Martin Benson||Voice role|
|2013||Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight||Justice Potter Stewart||TV movie|
|1970||The Tim Conway Show||Yes|
|The Tim Conway Comedy Hour||Yes||1 episode|
|1971–1972||The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine||Yes|
|1973–1976||The Carol Burnett Show||Yes||72 episodes|
|1975||Hot l Baltimore||Yes||Episode: "Millie's Beau"|
|1976||The Rich Little Show||Yes||Episode: "#1.1"|
|1978||Peeping Times||Yes||Yes||Comedy special|
|1985||American Playhouse||Yes||Episode: "Displaced Person"|
|1990||The Earth Day Special||Yes||Segment: "Dustin Hoffman – Robin Williams"|
|1993–1999||Homicide: Life on the Streets||Yes||Executive||Story||Developer;|
|1999–2000||The Hoop Life||Yes||12 episodes|
|2000||The Beat||Yes||Executive||6 episodes|
|2010||You Don't Know Jack||Yes||Executive||TV movie|
|2016||Shades of Blue||Yes||Executive||12 episodes|
|2017||The Wizard of Lies||Yes||Executive||TV movie|
|TBA||One Giant Leap||Yes|
Executive producer only
|1997||The Second Civil War||TV movie|
|2000||Homicide: The Movie||TV movie|
|2001||Shot in the Heart||TV movie|
|2006||The Bedford Diaries||4 episodes|
|2009||The Philanthropist||8 episodes|
|2013||Phil Spector||TV movie|
|2016||Killing Fields||4 episodes|
|1971–1972||The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine||Various|
|1993||The Larry Sanders Show||Himself||Episode: "Larry's Agent"|
|1993–1999||Homicide: Life on the Streets||Himself|
|2004||The Jury||Judge Horatio Hawthorne|
|2021||The Kominsky Method||Himself||Episodes: "Near, far, wherever you are" and "The fundamental things apply" [sic]|
Additional music only
|2003||The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman||Advertisement campaign promoting American Express|
|Year||Film||Academy Awards||BAFTA Awards||Golden Globe Awards|
|1979||...And Justice for All||2||1||1|
|1985||Young Sherlock Holmes||1|
|1987||Good Morning, Vietnam||1||2||1||1|
|1997||Wag the Dog||2||1||3|
The director also received the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema at the 53rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2018.
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Wag the Dog is a 1997 American political satire black comedy film produced and directed by Barry Levinson and starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro. The film centers on a spin doctor and a Hollywood producer who fabricate a war in Albania to distract voters from a presidential sex scandal. The screenplay by Hilary Henkin and David Mamet was loosely adapted from Larry Beinhart's 1993 novel, American Hero.
Bugsy is a 1991 American biographical crime film chronicling the life of American mobster Bugsy Siegel and his relationship with Virginia Hill. It is directed by Barry Levinson, written by James Toback, and stars Warren Beatty as Siegel and Annette Bening as Hill. The supporting cast includes Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Elliott Gould, Bebe Neuwirth, and Joe Mantegna.
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Avalon is a 1990 American drama film written and directed by Barry Levinson and starring Armin Mueller-Stahl, Aidan Quinn, Elizabeth Perkins, Joan Plowright, and Elijah Wood. It is the third in Levinson's semi-autobiographical tetralogy of "Baltimore films" set in his hometown during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s: Diner (1982), Tin Men (1987), and Liberty Heights (1999). The film explores the themes of Jewish assimilation into American life, through several generations of a Polish immigrant family from the 1910s through the 1950s.
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Diner is a 1982 American bromantic comedy film written and directed by Barry Levinson. It is Levinson's screen-directing debut, and the first of his "Baltimore Films" tetralogy, set in his hometown during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s; the other films in the tetralogy are Tin Men (1987), Avalon (1990), and Liberty Heights (1999). It stars Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Paul Reiser, Kevin Bacon, Timothy Daly and Ellen Barkin and was released on March 5, 1982. The film follows a close-knit circle of friends who reunite at a Baltimore diner when one of them prepares to get married.
Liberty Heights is a 1999 American comedy-drama film by writer-director Barry Levinson. The film is a semi-autobiographical account of his childhood growing up in Baltimore in the 1950s. It is the fourth of Levinson's tetralogy "Baltimore Films", set in his hometown during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s: Diner (1982), Tin Men (1987) and Avalon (1990).
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The 39th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from 10 to 21 February 1989. The Golden Bear was awarded to American film Rain Man directed by Barry Levinson. The retrospective was dedicated to German film producer Erich Pommer and another one dedicated to European productions of 1939 titled Europe 1939.
The 48th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from 11 to 22 February 1998. The festival opened with the Irish film The Boxer by Jim Sheridan. Francis Ford Coppola's The Rainmaker was selected as the closing night film. The Golden Bear was awarded to Brazilian-French film Central Station directed by Walter Salles. The retrospective dedicated to Siodmak Bros., titled Siodmak Bros. Berlin – London – Paris – Hollywood was shown at the festival.
Black Mass is a 2015 American biographical crime drama film about American mobster Whitey Bulger. Directed by Scott Cooper and written by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth, it is based on Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill's 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob. The film features an ensemble cast led by Johnny Depp as Bulger, alongside Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Jesse Plemons, Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Johnson, and Corey Stoll.
The Humbling is a 2014 comedy-drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Buck Henry and Michal Zebede, based on the 2009 novel The Humbling by Philip Roth. The film stars Al Pacino, Greta Gerwig, Dianne Wiest, Nina Arianda, Dylan Baker, Charles Grodin, Dan Hedaya, Billy Porter, Kyra Sedgwick, and Mary Louise Wilson.
Rock the Kasbah is a 2015 American comedy film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Mitch Glazer. The film stars Bill Murray as a talent manager sent to Afghanistan for a USO tour, Kate Hudson as his partner in country, Bruce Willis as his armed protection and book client, and Leem Lubany as his musical discovery. Open Road Films released the film on October 23, 2015.