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Giraldi at his induction to the Advertising Hall of Fame in May, 2013.
Robert Nicholas Giraldi
January 17, 1939
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
|Alma mater||Pratt Institute|
|Occupation||Film director, Television director, Professor|
|Years active||1962 - present|
|Dinner Rush, Beat It|
Bob Giraldi (born January 17, 1939) is an American film and television director known for directing the film Dinner Rush and the music video for Michael Jackson's song "Beat It". Giraldi has been inducted into the Art Director’s Hall of Fame, one of the few film directors to be honored; and, in 2014, was the first director ever to be inducted to the Advertising Hall of Fame. His work has garnered several London International Awards, Cannes Advertising Awards, NY International Awards, Addy Awards, Chicago Film Festival Awards, and dozens of Clio Awards. He has been named one of the 101 Stars Behind 100 Years of Advertising.
Giraldi was born in Paterson, New Jersey, to a working-class Italian-American family and attended Eastside High School. He attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
In 1960, he worked as a graphic designer at General Motors in Detroit, then spent the next nine years as an art director and creative supervisor at the advertising agency Young & Rubicam and Della Femina & Partners.
In 1965, teaching advertising at The School of Visual Arts in New York he became the chair of the Advertising Department. In 1968, President Silas Rhodes appointed him the Assistant Director of the school. During the Vietnam War, Giraldi stepped down and remained on the school's board of directors, and today is the chair of the Masters in Director’s Program. Then in 1981 he directed and produced a film "Burnt Umber", a recruitment film featuring a then-unknown actor Denzel Washington for SVA's recruitment program.
In 1970, Giraldi left his career at the advertising agency DellaFemina & Partners to form his production company Giraldi Productions, which has produced and directed close to 5,000 commercials, music videos and short films.
Bob Giraldi has produced and directed over 5,000 unique visual marketing and advertising pieces.
Directing his first commercials at the ad agency Della Femina in the late 1960s before moving on to form his own company with Phil Suarez in the 1970s, Giraldi has had success as a commercial director over the years, picking up numerous awards along the way.
Although there have been several feature and short films, music videos, and restaurants to distract Giraldi from his commercial work down the years, he has never strayed far from the medium and the business that he owes it all to. Still working and producing fine work to this day,[when?] Giraldi runs his own production company, Giraldi Media, out of New York and Los Angeles, with a network of other commercial directors connected through the company.
Giraldi set the tone for music videos in the early MTV days. His narrative and musical storytelling abilities were first seen in Michael Jackson's "Beat It" as the video swept the country and won numerous awards including that year's American Music Award, the Billboard Music Award and the People’s Choice Award. Hand-picked by Jackson himself after the singer saw an Eye Witness News commercial directed by Giraldi, about an elderly blind couple holding a block party for their new black and Hispanic neighbors, the Beat It video featured cast members that were real life members of the Bloods and the Crips.
Next up was making the first music video to ever feature dialogue, as Giraldi directed Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield" soon after, before directing Lionel Richie's "Hello." He directed Michael Jackson again, this time with Paul McCartney for their song "Say Say Say." He continued to win acclaim and define the future of the medium, working with musicians such as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Ricky Martin, Hall & Oates, Will Smith, and Patti Labelle.
Giraldi made three feature films in the 1980s, directing Jon Cryer's Hiding Out (1987), as well as National Lampoon's Movie Madness (1983) and Club Med (1985), before directing his fourth, and most critically acclaimed feature film, Dinner Rush a decade later.
Dinner Rush (2000), with Danny Aiello, John Corbett and Sandra Bernhard, appeared on a number of 2001's 'Top 10 Lists' and was selected for the 'New Directors/New Films Series' at MoMA. Dinner Rush was also listed by Roger Ebert as "One of the Best 100 Films in the Last 10 Years."
Giraldi's short film, The Routine, premiered at Sundance, won Best Drama at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, and is in the MoMA's permanent collection. Another short, My Hometown, is in the Baseball Hall of Fame's permanent collection and two short films; Dream Begins and A Peculiar City, both integral parts of New York’s national Olympic bid, are now part of MoMA's permanent collection.
His 2008 film Second Guessing Grandma with Kathleen Chalfant, examining the coming out of a twenty-something to his 83 year-old grandmother received the 'Jury Award' for 'Short Narrative at the 27th Annual Chicago International Film Festival' and won the 'Audience Award for Best Short' at the Fresno Reel Pride Festival. It was also selected to be in the new 'Google YouTube Screening Room', after it was the #3 most viewed video of the 2008 holiday season.
Giraldi directed the short film; A Poet Long Ago (2014), based on a short story written by Pete Hamill and starring Steve Schirripa, and Boris McGiver. A Conversational Place (2015), with Emmy winner Marilyn Sokol, New Year's Eve @ Sunny's (2016), Superfriends (2017), and The Whisperer (2018) are all currently making the rounds in several film festivals across the globe.[needs update]
In the early 1990s, Bob Giraldi opened the New York restaurant Jo-Jo' with his then film partner, Phil Suarez, and the fresh to New York chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. After Jo-Jo, Giraldi became a partner in various eateries, such as Jean Georges, the NY Times 4-Star restaurant an Asian fusion eatery, Vong, a forerunner of modern Thai cuisine in NYC, with its London and Hong Kong outposts-- Mercer Kitchen in SoHo-- and Prime, the steakhouse at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Giraldi was also involved in the creation of Patria; at the time in the early 1990s, led by chef Douglas Rodriquez. Patria received the NY Times 3-Stars.
Gigino Trattoria opened its doors in August of 1994. Owners once again, Giraldi and Suarez, along with executive chef Luigi Celentano, whom they discovered in Positano on the Amalfi coast of Italy, have kept this amazing resilient and consistent Italian eatery flourishing as the restaurant has become a mainstay in the ever-changing Tribeca neighborhood.
Giraldi also started Gigino at Wagner Park with Suarez, and Celentano, once again, as the Executive Chef. This inside/outside café is located at the southern tip of Manhattan, with views of New York harbor.
In 1995, Giraldi and Executive Producer, Patti Greaney, created the original website StarChefs.com, featuring celebrity chefs and cookbook authors. StarChefs.com continues to be the foremost website used by professionals and food aficionados.
In 2002, Giraldi joined forces with restaurateur Luigi Comandatore to open the Tuscan eatery, BREADTribeca, that earned 2-Stars from The NY Times. Another establishment, Diablo Royale, was a taqueria in the West Village.
Giraldi appeared on the TV series, Celebrity Taste Makers, with Danny Aiello, discussing his experience in the restaurant business, as well as the making of Dinner Rush which has, over the years, earned its reputation as the original inspiration for the galaxy of food shows, both reality and fictional, that crowd the media landscape of today.[when?]
- Bob Giraldi: Partner, StarChefs. Accessed January 2, 2012. "Born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1939, Bob Giraldi was educated at Paterson Eastside High School and Pratt Institute, where he graduated with a BFA in 1960."
- "FILM REVIEW; The Specialty of the House, Please, And a Double Order of Intrigue". The New York Times. September 28, 2001. p. 15.