Taylor Hackford

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Taylor Hackford
Hackford in January 2013
Born Taylor Edwin Hackford
(1944-12-31) December 31, 1944 (age 72)
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Occupation Film director
Years active 1971–present
Spouse(s) Georgie Lowres
(m. 1970; div. 1975)

Lynne Littman
(m. 1977–87)

Helen Mirren
(m. 1997)
Children 2

Taylor Edwin Hackford (born December 31, 1944) is an American film director and former president of the Directors Guild of America. He won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for Teenage Father (1979). Hackford went on to direct a number of highly regarded feature films, most notably An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) and Ray (2004), the latter of which saw him nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and Academy Award for Best Picture.

Early life[edit]

Hackford was born in Santa Barbara, California, the son of Mary (née Taylor), a waitress, and Joseph Hackford.[1] He graduated from the University of Southern California in 1968,[2] where he was a pre-law major focusing on international relations and economics. After graduating, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia, where he started using Super 8 film in his spare time. He decided that he did not want to pursue a career in law, and instead got a mailroom position at KCET-TV.[3] At KCET he was the associate producer on the Leon Russell special "Homewood" in 1970.[4] In 1973 at KCET he produced the one-hour special Bukowski (about the poet Charles Bukowski), directed by Richard Davies.[5]


The Idolmaker starred Ray Sharkey, who was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his portrayal of "Vinnie" in the film. The Music Supervisor was Richard Flanzer.[6] Hackford said of The Idolmaker, "I make films about working-class people; showbusiness is one of those things through which people can get themselves out of the lower rung of society. To me, the compelling story in The Idolmaker is the guy with a wonderful talent and a fairly strong ego has to make it happen through puppets."

During the filming of An Officer and a Gentleman, Hackford kept Lou Gossett Jr. in separate living quarters from the other actors so he could intimidate them more during his scenes as a drill instructor.[7] Richard Gere originally balked at shooting the ending, which involves his character arriving at his lover's factory wearing his Navy dress whites and carrying her off from the factory floor. Gere thought the ending would not work because it was too sentimental, and Hackford was initially inclined to agree with Gere, until during a rehearsal when the extras playing the workers began to cheer and cry. But when Gere saw the scene later with the music underneath it at the right tempo, he said it sent chills up the back of his neck, and is now convinced Hackford made the right decision.[8]

Hackford said of his film Ray: "My proudest moments in Ray were in those 'chitlin' clubs. Ray Charles ended his life in concert halls, where people would go in tuxedos and quietly listen to a genius perform. But in these clubs, he had to get people up dancing. What I tried to create was a little of that energy and exuberance. The great thing about music is when you can get people on their feet."[6]

In a 2005 interview, Hackford confirmed that he never watched his own films: "When I finish a film, I put it away and I never look at it again. Occasionally I do now because of the DVDs and the commentary tracks. I usually put it aside and go onto the next. I never went to film school. I worked for the KCET public television station in L.A. I worked in concerts. I have done a lot of music. I feel very comfortable shooting music, and I think you can see that."[9] Hackford has also directed music videos, including "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" by Phil Collins and "Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie.

On July 25, 2009, Hackford was elected President of the Directors Guild of America.[10] He was re-elected to a second, two-year term as President on June 25, 2011, at the DGA's National Biennial Convention in Los Angeles.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Hackford has been married three times. He married his first wife, Georgie Lowres, in 1970; they have one child, Rio Hackford. The couple divorced five years later in 1975. In 1977 Hackford married Lynne Littman, with whom he has one child, Alexander Hackford; their marriage lasted until 1987. Hackford has been married to Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren since 1997. Hackford met Mirren when he was directing her in White Nights, although their first meeting did not go well: he kept her waiting to audition for White Nights, and she was icy. "It was a strange way to meet Helen, because she is a lovely person," says Hackford, "but she didn’t hold back her fury."[12] Hackford and Mirren wed in 1997 after 12 years together, although as a young woman Mirren had vowed never to marry.[12]

Hackford has two grown children from two previous marriages.


Year Film Director Producer Awards Notes
1973 Bukowski Yes
1978 Teenage Father Yes Winner Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film
1980 The Idolmaker Yes
1982 An Officer and a Gentleman Yes Nominee Director's Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film
1984 Against All Odds Yes Yes Based on the film: "Out of the Past" adapted by Daniel Mainwaring from his novel: "Build My Gallows High" - written under the pseudonym: Geoffrey Homes
  • Screenplay by Eric Hughes
1985 White Nights Yes Yes
1987 La Bamba Yes
1987 Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll Yes
1988 Everybody's All-American Yes Yes Based on the novel: "Everybody's All-American" by Frank Deford
1993 Blood In, Blood Out Yes Yes
1995 Dolores Claiborne Yes Yes Based on the novel: "Dolores Claiborne" by Stephen King
1996 When We Were Kings Yes Winner Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature: Leon Gast and David Sonenberg
  • Academy rules state a maximum of two people can receive the documentary feature award ... Taylor Hackford says he was also responsible for the film and wants to see a change...[13]
1997 The Devil's Advocate Yes Based on the novel: "The Devil's Advocate" by Andrew Neiderman
1999 G:MT - Greenwich Mean Time Yes
2000 Proof of Life Yes Yes Written by Tony Gilroy
2004 Ray Yes Yes Nominee




Academy Award for Best Director

Academy Award for Best Picture (Shared with Stuart Benjamin and Howard Baldwin)

Director's Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film

Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media (Shared with Stuart Benjamin and James Austin)

2010 Love Ranch Yes Yes
2013 Parker Yes Yes Based on the Donald E. Westlake character: Parker, from the novel: "Flashfire" - written under the pseudonym: Richard Stark
  • Screenplay by John J. McLaughlin
2016 The Comedian Yes Yes


External links[edit]