Irwin Winkler

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Irwin Winkler
Born (1931-05-28) May 28, 1931 (age 91)
EducationB.A. New York University
OccupationFilm director, producer
Spouse
(after 1959)
ChildrenCharles Winkler
David Winkler
Adam Winkler
Parent(s)Sol Winkler
Anna Winkler
Websitewinklerfilms.com

Irwin Winkler (born May 28, 1931) is an American film producer and director. He is the producer or director of over 58 motion pictures, dating back to 1967's Double Trouble, starring Elvis Presley. The fourth film he produced, They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), starring Jane Fonda, was nominated for nine Academy Awards. He won an Oscar for Best Picture for 1976's Rocky. As a producer, he has been nominated for Best Picture for five films: Rocky (1976), Raging Bull (1980), The Right Stuff (1983), Goodfellas (1990) and The Irishman (2019).

Early life and education[edit]

Winkler was born to a Jewish family[1][2] in New York City, to Sol and Anna Winkler. Growing up in Coney Island, one of his first jobs was on a bumper ride on the boardwalk.[3] Winkler graduated early from high school and got into New York University, but felt out of place among the older and more mature students, many of whom were former World War II soldiers that had entered university under the G.I. Bill. At the outbreak of the Korean War, he volunteered to join the Army and was stationed in Louisiana for two years.[3] After completing his service, Winkler returned to New York University and went on to receive a degree in American Literature in 1955.[4]

Early career[edit]

Winkler's first job after graduating university was at the William Morris Agency (WMA). Among his first clients as an agent were comedians Sammy Shore and Jackie Vernon, though Winkler says of himself he was a "mediocre" agent.[5]

After meeting Robert Chartoff, who managed several comedians, including Jackie Mason, the two set up their own talent management company.[6] One of the "unsuccessful clients"[3] the William Morris Agency allowed him to take with him at the time that he had options on, was the actress Julie Christie, whose screentest for Doctor Zhivago they arranged.[7] Through another of their clients, Winkler and Chartoff brokered the John Schlesinger film Darling to film producer Joseph E. Levine. This deal led them from talent management to film production.[5]

Career as film producer and director[edit]

Forming the production company Winkler-Chartoff Productions, Winkler began producing films with his partner Robert Chartoff in the late 1960s. Their first effort (along with Judd Bernard), was Double Trouble (1967) starring Elvis Presley . Their next film was John Boorman's thriller Point Blank (1967) starring Lee Marvin, which is now regarded as a classic. Adding Sydney Pollack to their production team for one project, they garnered critical acclaim for They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969). Their next film, The Strawberry Statement (1970), won the Jury Prize at Cannes. Chartoff and Winkler achieved their greatest success yet with Rocky (1976), which earned the Academy Award as Best Picture. Subsequently, the producing duo picked up Best Picture Oscar nominations for Raging Bull (1980) and The Right Stuff (1983), their last project together before Chartoff-Winkler Productions dissolved in 1985.[7]

Winkler produced such noteworthy features as The Right Stuff (1983) which received 8 Academy Award nominations with 4 wins, Round Midnight (1986) which garnered 2 Academy Award nominations. He then produced back-to-back Costa-Gavras films, Betrayed (1988) and Music Box (1989), which was nominated and won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, before receiving another Best Picture Oscar nomination for Goodfellas (1990). He also produced Rocky II (1978) , Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985) and Rocky V (1990).

Winkler moved into the director's chair, debuting with Guilty by Suspicion (1991), a drama (which he also scripted) about the Hollywood blacklist that starred Robert De Niro, which was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. His second feature, the Night and the City (1992 film) remake of ''Night and the City'', also starred De Niro and was chosen as the closing feature for the 1992 New York Film Festival. Winkler fared excellently at the box office as the writer-director of the Sandra Bullock vehicle The Net (1995), which spawned a series of the same name debuting on the USA Network in 1998.

Life as a House (2001) made its world debut at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival [1]and told the tale of a depressed dying man (Kevin Kline) who funnels his energies into rebuilding the dilapidated beach shack he inherited from his abusive father and, in the process, building bridges between himself and his disaffected son (Hayden Christensen). After this film received critical praise, Winkler re-teamed with Kline for the follow-up De-Lovely (2004), casting the actor as the lead in his biographical film about American composer Cole Porter, which centered on his unique relationship with his wife and muse (Ashley Judd) and was chosen as the closing night film at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival [2].

While his directorial career would last through 2006, Winkler continued to produce his share of films, including The Shipping News (2001), Enough (2002), the 2014 remake of The Gambler—he'd also produced James Toback's 1974 original—and his further return to the Rocky franchise with Rocky Balboa (2006) and the spin-offs-sequels Creed (2015) which was nominated for multiple awards including 6 NAACP Image Awards, winning 4 [3] and Creed II (2018). His work with Scorsese continued on with The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and Silence (2016), and The Irishman (2019) which was Winkler's first collaboration with Netflix.[3]

In 2019, Winkler published his autobiography A Life In Movies: Stories from 50 years in Hollywood The New York Times wrote ‘…Winkler looks back fondly on a career producing some of the most successful films of the 20th century’.

Personal life[edit]

Winkler married his wife Margo Winkler in 1959 while still working at WMA in New York. They moved to Los Angeles in 1966. Margo was originally from California and her parents, Irma and Charlie Melson, were former Vaudeville performers.[3] The couple have three sons, Charles Winkler, David Winkler, and Adam Winkler. Winkler's youngest son Adam is a professor of constitutional law at the UCLA School of Law and a published author.

Filmography[edit]

Director

Year Title Director Producer Writer
1991 Guilty by Suspicion Yes No Yes
1992 Night and the City Yes Yes No
1995 The Net Yes Yes No
1999 At First Sight Yes Yes No
2001 Life as a House Yes Yes No
2004 De-Lovely Yes Yes No
2006 Home of the Brave Yes Yes Yes

Producer

Executive producer

As an actor
Year Film Role
1998 Welcome to Hollywood Himself
Thanks
Year Film Role
1998 Welcome to Hollywood Special thanks

Honors[edit]

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Winkler has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard. He was also the recipient of the 2017 Producers Guild of America's David O. Selznick Achievement Award for his work in motion pictures and was awarded the Commandeur des Arts et Lettres by France.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Award Film Result
1969 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Won
Best Actress Nominated
Best Art Direction Nominated
Best Costume Design Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Film Editing Nominated
Best Music Score Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
1970 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize The Strawberry Statement Won
1970 Cannes Film Festival Best Director Leo the Last Won
1977 Golden Globes Best Picture Drama Rocky Won
Academy Awards Best Picture Rocky Won
1981 Academy Awards Best Picture Raging Bull Nominated
1984 Academy Awards Best Picture The Right Stuff Nominated
Best Cinematography Nominated
Best Film Editing Won
Best Music Won
Best Sound Won
Best Sound Effects Editing Won
National Board of Review Top Films Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture - Drama Nominated
1989 Chicago Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award Won
1990 Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear Music Box Won
1991 BAFTA Awards Best Film Goodfellas Won
Academy Awards Best Picture Nominated
1995 Deauville Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award Won
1999 Hollywood Film Festival Hollywood Film Award Outstanding Achievement in Producing Won
1999 Flanders Intl. Film Festival Josef Plateau Lifetime Achievement Award Won
2001 Aspen Filmfest Audience Favorite Feature Life as a House Won
2002 Golden Globe Awards Best Performance Supporting Actor Nominated
National Board of Review Breakthrough Male Performance Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in Leading Role Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in Supporting Role Nominated
2002 Palm Springs International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award Won
2003 Swiss Film Fund Helvetian Award for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement Won
2003 American Society of Cinematographers Board of Governors Award Won
2006 National Board of Review Career Achievement Award in Producing Won
2008 Israel Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award Won
2015 AARP Movies for Grownups Best Intergenerational Film Creed Won
2015 Christopher Award Best Feature Film Creed Won
2017 Producers Guild of America David O. Selznick Achievement Award Won
2020 Academy Awards Best Picture The Irishman Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erens, Patricia (1998). The Jew in American Cinema. Indiana University Press. p. 392. ISBN 978-0-253-20493-6.
  2. ^ J Weekly: "Celebrity Jews" by Nate Bloom. May 28, 2004
  3. ^ a b c d e "WTF with Marc Maron, Episode 1015: Irwin Winkler". wtfpod.com. May 2, 2019. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  4. ^ King, Susan (July 7, 2010). "Hollywood Star Walk: Irwin Winkler". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Champlin, Charles (January 11, 1986). "Irwin Winkler's 'Rocky' Road to Glory". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  6. ^ Chawkins, Steve (June 11, 2015). "Robert Chartoff dies at 81; Producer of 'Rocky,' 'Raging Bull'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Barnes, Mike (June 10, 2015). "Robert Chartoff, Producer of 'Rocky' and 'Raging Bull,' Dies at 81". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 3, 2019.

Sources[edit]

  • Winkler, Irwin. A Life in Movies: Stories from 50 years in Hollywood. New York, Abrams Press, 2019

External links[edit]