Schlesinger in 1974
John Richard Schlesinger
16 February 1926
|Died||25 July 2003 77) (aged|
|Alma mater||University of Oxford|
John Richard Schlesinger // ; 16 February 1926 – 25 July 2003) was an English film and stage director, and actor. He won an Academy Award for Best Director for Midnight Cowboy , and was nominated for two other films ( Darling and Sunday Bloody Sunday ).(
Schlesinger was born and raised at Hampstead, London,into a Jewish family, the eldest of five children of distinguished Emmanuel College, Cambridge-educated paediatrician and physician Bernard Edward Schlesinger (1896–1984), OBE, FRCP, who had also served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Brigadier, and his wife Winifred Henrietta, daughter of Hermann Regensburg, a stockbroker from Frankfurt. She had left school at 14 to study at the Trinity College of Music, and later studied languages at the University of Oxford for three years. Bernard Schlesinger's father Richard, a stockbroker, had come to England in the 1880s from Frankfurt.
After St Edmund's School, Hindhead and Uppingham School (where his father had also been),Schlesinger enlisted in the British Army during World War II. While serving with the Royal Engineers, he made films on the war's front line. He also entertained his fellow troops by performing magic tricks. After his tour of duty, he continued making short films and acted in stage productions while studying at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was involved in the Oxford University Dramatic Society.
Schlesinger's acting career began in the 1950s and consisted of supporting roles in British films such as The Divided Heart and Oh... Rosalinda!! , and British television productions such as BBC Sunday Night Theatre , The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Vise . He began his directorial career in 1956 with the short documentary Sunday in the Park about London's Hyde Park. In 1958, Schlesinger created a documentary on Benjamin Britten and the Aldeburgh Festival for the BBC's Monitor TV programme, including rehearsals of the children's opera Noye's Fludde featuring a young Michael Crawford.In 1959, Schlesinger was credited as exterior or second unit director on 23 episodes of the TV series The Four Just Men and four 30-minute episodes of the series Danger Man . He also appeared in Col March of Scotland Yard as "Dutch cook" in "Death and the Other Monkey" 1956.
By the 1960s, he had virtually given up acting to concentrate on a directing career, and another of his earlier directorial efforts, the British Transport Films' documentary Terminus (1961), gained a Venice Film Festival Gold Lion and a British Academy Award. His first two fiction films, A Kind of Loving (1962) and Billy Liar (1963) were set in the North of England. A Kind of Loving won the Golden Bear award at the 12th Berlin International Film Festival in 1962.His third feature film, Darling (1965), tartly described the modern way of life in London and was one of the first films about 'swinging London'. Schlesinger's next film was the period drama Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's popular novel accentuated by beautiful English country locations. Both films (and Billy Liar ) featured Julie Christie as the female lead.
Schlesinger's next film, Midnight Cowboy (1969), was internationally acclaimed. A story of two hustlers living on the fringe in the bad side of New York City, it was Schlesinger's first film shot in the US, and it won Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture. During the 1970s, he made an array of films that were mainly about loners, losers and people outside the mainstream world, such as Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), The Day of the Locust (1975), Marathon Man (1976) and Yanks (1979). Later, came the major box office and critical failure of Honky Tonk Freeway (1981), followed by films that attracted mixed responses from the public, and low returns, although The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) made money and Pacific Heights (1990) was a box-office hit. In Britain, he did better with films like Madame Sousatzka (1988) and Cold Comfort Farm (1995). Other later works include An Englishman Abroad (1983), the TV play A Question of Attribution (1991), The Innocent (1993) and The Next Best Thing (2000).
Schlesinger also directed Timon of Athens (1965) for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the musical I and Albert (1972) at London's Piccadilly Theatre. From 1973, he was an associate director of the Royal National Theatre, where he produced George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House (1975). He also directed several operas, beginning with Les contes d'Hoffmann (1980) and Der Rosenkavalier (1984), both at Covent Garden.Schlesinger also directed a party political broadcast for the Conservative Party in the general election of 1992, which featured Prime Minister John Major returning to Brixton in south London, where he had spent his teenage years, which highlighted his humble background, atypical for a Conservative politician. Schlesinger admitted to having voted for all three main political parties in the UK at one time or another.
Schlesinger was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1970 Birthday Honours for services to film.In 2003, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.
Schlesinger underwent a quadruple heart bypass in 1998, before suffering a stroke in December 2000. He was taken off life support at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs on 24 July 2003, and he died early the following day at the age of 77. He was survived by his partner of over 30 years, photographer Michael Childers. A memorial service was held on 30 September 2003.
Golden Globe Awards
Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 American buddy drama film, based on the 1965 novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. The film was written by Waldo Salt, directed by John Schlesinger, and stars Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, with notable smaller roles being filled by Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Bob Balaban, Jennifer Salt, and Barnard Hughes. Set in New York City, Midnight Cowboy depicts the unlikely friendship between two hustlers: naïve prostitute Joe Buck (Voight), and ailing con man "Ratso" Rizzo (Hoffman).
Darling is a 1965 British romantic drama film directed by John Schlesinger, written by Frederic Raphael and starring Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde and Laurence Harvey.
Rachel Roberts was a Welsh actress. She is best remembered for her screen performances as the older mistress of the central male character in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) and This Sporting Life (1963). For both films, she won the BAFTA Award for Best British Actress. She was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for This Sporting Life. Her other notable film appearances included Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and Yanks (1979).
George Fenton is an English composer best known for his work writing film scores and music for television. He composed the themes for several programmes on the BBC, including Newsnight (1980), Bergerac (1981), The Blue Planet (2001) and Planet Earth (2006). He is also known for his work on the films Gandhi (1982), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), The Fisher King (1991), Groundhog Day (1993), You've Got Mail (1998), The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006) and The Bounty Hunter (2010). He is a frequent collaborator of directors Ken Loach, Richard Attenborough, Nicholas Hytner, Stephen Frears and Terry Gilliam.
Waldo Miller Salt was an American screenwriter who won Academy Awards for both Midnight Cowboy and Coming Home.
Hugh A. Robertson was an American film director and editor, born in Brooklyn, of Jamaican parents. While Robertson was credited as an editor for only three films, Midnight Cowboy earned him the BAFTA Award for Best Editing and a nomination for the Academy Award for Film Editing, making him the first African American person to be nominated for an Oscar in the editing category.
Bloody Sunday is a 2002 British-Irish film written and directed by Paul Greengrass based around the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" shootings in Derry, Northern Ireland. Although produced by Granada Television as a TV film, it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 16 January, a few days before its screening on ITV on 20 January, and then in selected London cinemas from 25 January. Though set in Derry, the film was actually shot in Ballymun in North Dublin. However, some location scenes were shot in Derry, in Guildhall Square and in Creggan on the actual route of the march in 1972.
Sunday Bloody Sunday is a 1971 British drama written by Penelope Gilliatt, directed by John Schlesinger and starring Glenda Jackson, Peter Finch, Murray Head and Peggy Ashcroft. It tells the story of a free-spirited young bisexual artist and his simultaneous relationships with a divorced female recruitment job consultant (Jackson) and a gay male Jewish doctor (Finch).
Lonesome Cowboys is a 1968 film by American filmmaker Andy Warhol, and was shown, for initial viewings, at the New Andy Warhol Garrick Theatre at 152 Bleecker Street in New York City. Written by Paul Morrissey, the film is a satire of Hollywood westerns. The film won the Best Film Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
Madame Sousatzka is a 1988 British drama film directed by John Schlesinger, with a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. It is based upon the novel of the same name by Bernice Rubens.
The Innocent is a 1993 drama film directed by John Schlesinger. The screenplay was written by Ian McEwan and based on his 1990 novel of the same name. The film stars Anthony Hopkins, Isabella Rossellini, and Campbell Scott. It was released in the USA in 1995.
Jerome Hellman is an American film producer. He is best known for being the 42nd recipient of the Academy Award for Best Picture for Midnight Cowboy (1969). His 1978 film Coming Home was nominated for the same award.
Richard Henry Bush was a prolific British cinematographer whose career spanned over thirty years. Among his films are Ken Russel's Savage Messiah (1972), Mahler (1974) and Tommy (1975), John Schlesinger's Yanks (1979), and a number of films directed by Blake Edwards.
Jim Clark was a British film editor with more than forty feature film credits between 1956 and 2008. Clark also directed eight features and short films. Among his most recognized films are Midnight Cowboy, Marathon Man (1976), The Killing Fields (1984), and Vera Drake (2004). In 2011, Clark published Dream Repairman: Adventures in Film Editing, a memoir of his career.
"Everybody's Talkin' (Echoes)" is a song written and recorded by singer-songwriter Fred Neil in 1966 and released by himself two years later. A version of the song performed by Harry Nilsson became a hit in 1969, reaching No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and winning a Grammy Award after it was featured in the film Midnight Cowboy.
Stephen Whittaker was a British actor and director. He worked largely in British film and television, and trained as an actor at London's Corona Academy. He began his career aged 17, as a "bad boy" in the film To Sir With Love (1966), and in the classic BBC Doctor Who adventure The Web of Fear, as a soldier battling Yeti in the London Underground.
The David di Donatello for Best Foreign Director is a category in the David di Donatello Awards, described as "Italy’s answer to the Oscars". It was awarded by the Accademia del Cinema Italiano to recognize outstanding efforts on the part of non-Italian film directors during the year preceding the ceremony. The award was given from 1966 until 1990.
Luciana Maria Arrighi is a Brazilian-born, Australian-raised, Italian production designer. She won an Oscar for the film Howards End in the category Best Art Direction.
Joseph Janni was a British film producer best known for his work with John Schlesinger. He was born into a Jewish family in Milan, Italy and became interested in filmmaking while at university. He emigrated to England in 1939, and once Italy declared war against England was briefly interned in Metropole Camp on the Isle of Man. He soon became involved in the British film industry and worked his way up to producer. He produced the first films of Schlesinger and Ken Loach.
Ray Simm was a British art director. He was nominated three times for the BAFTA Award for Best Production Design for The Slipper and the Rose, The Wrong Box and Darling, for which he won.