Steven Spielberg is an American movie director, producer, screenwriter, and editor.
The award-winning filmmaker admired by his peers for being the highest-grossing director of all time has his personal wealth estimated at $3.7 billion. He earns between $100 million and $150 million annually. You will find most of the details you may need to know about his life here.
Steven Spielberg Biography
Born Steven Allan Spielberg on December 18, 1946, in Cincinnati, Ohio, a teenage Steven Spielberg already knew what he wanted out of life. His mother was a pianist and a restaurateur while his father was an electrical engineer who developed computers. Steve’s parents moved often and as a result, he spent parts of his early life in Haddon Township, New Jersey, Phoenix, Arizona and later Saratoga, California.
Steve began making adventure films at the age of 12 with the help of his 8 mm camera. His first movie was a 9-minute-long film titled “The Last Gunfight”. He continued making films throughout his three years at Arcadia High School, Arizona and often incorporated his schoolmates as actors. At the age of 13, he made a 40-minute war film titled “Escape to Nowhere” which won him a prize. The prize inspired Steven to become prolific in making films.
His first ever independent film made from $500 partly gotten from his father was a 140-minute long adventure titled “Firelight”. Steven was 16 at the time. The movie was aired at the local cinema and earned profits enough to recover the production cost. Firelight would later inspire his box office hit “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977).
The Spielberg family after spending 3 years in Arizona moved to Saratoga, California where Steven attended and graduated from Saratoga High School in 1965. However, while in school his parents divorced. Steven moved to Los Angeles upon graduation to pursue a career in filmmaking.
His application to study at the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film, and Television was rejected thrice because of his C grade. He later studied English at the California State University, Long Beach, graduating in 2002 after dropping out somewhere in between.
While a student at California State University, Steven took up an unpaid intern job at the editing department of the famed Universal Studios which would later bring him a 7-year directing contract making him one of the youngest directors in a long-term deal with major Hollywood studio. The contract came after Spielberg impressed the studio’s vice president Sidney Sheinberg with his writing and directorial prowess in the 26 minute 35 mm short film “Amblin” (1968) which won numerous awards.
Spielberg started his contract with Universal studios directing episodes for TV shows. The success of his work earned him another contract to produce 4 TV-films which included “Duel” (1971), and horror movie “Something Evil” (1972). Spielberg’s first theatrical release was “The Sugarland Express” (1974) which although critically raved performed moderately at the box office.
Together with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, Steven Spielberg founded film production company DreamWorks SKG in 1994. He began releasing films under the studio in 1997.
The studio’s first big release was World War II film “Saving Private Ryan” starring Tom Hanks. 10 of the many films produced by the studio have grossed over $100 million. They first sold the studio to Viacom- owners of Paramount Pictures in 2006 but terminated the partnership with them in 2008 when they entered into a $1.5 billion deal with India’s Reliance ADA Group.
The studio which is headquartered in Universal City California is in a distributing deal with Universal Pictures. It has produced numerous hit TV series including “Extant” and “Under The Dome”.
The studio’s animation arm known as DreamWorks Animation SKG was formed and taken public in 2004 with Jeffrey Katzenberg as the CEO. The studio has created successful franchises like “Shrek”, “Madagascar”, “How to Train Your Dragon”, “Kung Fu Panda”, “The Croods” and “Monsters vs. Aliens”. It has over 30 feature films which have grossed over $13.5 billion worldwide.
In August 2016, DreamWorks Animation was acquired by Comcast the parent company of NBC Universal in a $3.8 billion deal with Jeffrey Katzenberg as chairman of DreamWorks New Media. While the sale boosted former billionaire Katzenberg’s wealth to $880 million, it didn’t have any direct effect on Spielberg’s who although on the board focuses more on the live-action based DreamWorks SKG.
Steven Spielberg continues to make movies often revisiting his past works. His 2015 version of Jurassic World grossed $1.7 billion to become the second-highest grossing movie of the year behind George Lucas’ “Star Wars”.
Earnings, Salary, and House
Spielberg’s net worth of $3.7 billion makes him the third richest filmmaker in the world behind Arnon Milchan and George Lucas.
Spielberg’s biggest break which established him as a household name, gained him worldwide recognition, as well as the millionaire status, was his directorial role in 1975 thriller-horror film “Jaws”. The movie became a massive commercial hit, setting domestic box office records and grossing over $470 million in the global box office. Jaws also won three Academy Awards for editing, sound and original score.
Spielberg partnered with actor Richard Dreyfuss to write and direct 1977 movie about UFO’s titled “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. The movie was an enormous hit both critically and commercially. It earned Steven his first Academy Award nomination for Best Director and won 2 Oscars for Cinematography and Sounds Effects.
Spielberg’s next major hit was the Indiana Jones adventure film series which he made in collaboration with Star Wars creator George Lucas. The first instalment “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981) grossed $389.9 million to become the highest grossing film of the year. He produced and directed hit science fiction movie “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) which became the highest grossing movie of all time.
Some of his other successful and notable works which helped boost his $3.7 billion financial strength include “Poltergeist” (1982 ), “The Twilight Zone” (1983), “The Color Purple” (1985) which starred Oprah Winfrey, “Hook” (1991) and “Jurassic Park” (1993) which grossed over $915 million to become his third highest grossing movie of all time.
All of Spielberg’s works have grossed not less than $9 billion at the worldwide box office. The legendary billionaire filmmaker is entitled to a cut of every ticket sold at the Universal theme park. He has won 3 Academy Awards and received many other nominations. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and on the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
Taking about his house, Spielberg has one of the notable mansions in the world. His residence is located on the edge of a saltwater pond on a six-acre field in East Hampton, New York. The multibillion-dollar producer bought the luxury Pacific Palisades property from singer and songwriter Bobby Vinton in 1985. Speaking on why he decided to buy the mansion, Spielberg explained that he was not just moved by the beauty of the place but by the history of the house as well and how most well-recognised individuals like David Selznick, Cary Grant, and Barbara Hutton resided on the property.
Apart from that, the producer also owns a 7,000 square feet mansion in Malibu. The Oceanfront property has seven bedrooms and ten bathrooms. However, the director recently sold the property for over $26 million. He originally bought the estate, which included two different parcels of land, back in 1989 for $6.5 million.
Steven Spielberg’s Wife And Children
The award-winning film director sure has a love life. He has been married twice. His first was with an American film and stage actress, Amy Davis Irving. The two met in 1976 and lived together for about four years but while they were still together, actress Amy Davis never wanted to be recognised as Steven’s girlfriend neither does she want her successes to be attached in any way to him.
Hence, their breakup in 1979. However, the two reconciled a few years later and in 1985 they were married and had a son named Max Samuel. Meanwhile, the feud between Steven and Amy never died down. It resulted in their final break up in 1989.
Not deterred by his costly divorce with actress Amy Davis Irving, Steven moved on with his life, developing a relationship with another actress Kate Capshaw whom he met when she was cast in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The couple met in 1988 and they dated for about three years before they finally tied a knot on October 12, 1991.
Still living together the couple has three biological children namely Sasha Rebecca Spielberg, Sawyer Avery Spielberg and Destry Allyn Spielberg. They also adopted two children – a boy named Theo and a girl, Mikaela.