HARVEY WEINSTEIN Biography - Bussiness people and enterpreneurs


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Harvey Weinstein (born March 19, 1952) is an American film producer                       
and movie studio chairman.                                                                 
Born in Flushing, New York, Weinstein and his younger brother, Bob Weinstein,             
grew up in New York City, residing in a housing co-op named Electchester. He               
attended and graduated from John Bowne High School, and then the State                     
University of New York at Buffalo. He currently lives in Westport, Connecticut.           
Weinstein, along with his brother Bob Weinstein, and Corky Burger independently           
produced rock concerts as Harvey & Corky Productions in Buffalo through most of           
the 1970s. Both Weinstein brothers had grown up with a passion for movies and             
they nurtured a desire to enter the film industry. In the late 1970s, using               
profits from their concert promotion business, the brothers created a small               
independent film distribution company called Miramax, named after their parents           
- Miriam and Max. The company's first releases were primarily music-oriented               
concert films such as Paul McCartney's Rockshow. In the early 1980s Miramax               
acquired the rights to two British films of benefit shows filmed for human                 
rights organization Amnesty International. Working closely with Martin Lewis,             
the producer of the original films, the Weinstein brothers edited the two films           
into one movie tailored for the American market. The resulting film was released           
as The Secret Policeman's Other Ball in May 1982 and it became Miramax's first             
hit. The movie raised considerable sums for Amnesty International and was                 
credited by Amnesty with having helped to raise its profile in the US.                     
The Weinsteins slowly built upon this success throughout the 1980s with arthouse           
films that achieved critical attention and modest commercial success. Harvey               
Weinstein and Miramax gained wider attention in 1988 with the release of Errol             
Morris's documentary The Thin Blue Line which detailed the struggle of Randall             
Adams, a wrongfully convicted inmate sentenced to death row. The publicity that           
soon surrounded the case resulted in the release of Adams and nationwide                   
publicity for Miramax. The following year, their successful launch release of             
Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies, and Videotape propelled Miramax to become the               
most successful independent studio in America.                                             
Also in 1989, Miramax released two art-house films, The Cook, the Thief, His               
Wife & Her Lover and director Pedro Almodóvar's film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!,             
both of which the MPAA rating board gave an X-rating, effectively stopping                 
nationwide release for these films. Weinstein sued the MPAA over their rating             
system and while his lawsuit was thrown out, the MPAA agreed to introduce the             
new NC-17 rating following this episode.                                                   
Miramax continued to grow its library of films and directors until, in 1993,               
after the success of The Crying Game, Disney offered Harvey and Bob $80 million           
for ownership of Miramax. Agreeing to the deal that would cement their Hollywood           
clout and ensure that they would remain at the head of their company, Miramax             
followed the next year with their first blockbuster, Quentin Tarantino's Pulp             
Fiction and the indie favorite Clerks by Kevin Smith.                                     
1996 brought Miramax its first Best Picture Academy Award with the victory of             
The English Patient. This started a string of critical successes that included             
Shakespeare in Love and Good Will Hunting.                                                 
In 2000, Harvey Weinstein was bestowed an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters,           
from the State University of New York at Buffalo despite not completing his               
course of study there, having dropped out to form Miramax Films in 1979.                   
On March 29, 2005, it was announced that the Weinstein brothers would leave               
Miramax on September 30 to form their own production company, named The                   
Weinstein Co. with several other media executives as well as, reportedly,                 
directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. The new studio immediately               
garnered Academy Award nominations for Transamerica and Mrs. Henderson Presents,           
and box office success through Hoodwinked and Scary Movie 4.                               
Weinstein was awarded an Honorary CBE in November 2004 for services to the                 
British Film Industry. Many of his films, including Shakespeare in Love and The           
English Patient, were shot at least partially in British studios.                         
He serves on the board of the Robin Hood Foundation, a charitable organization             
which attempts to allieviate problems caused by poverty in New York City, New             
In 2006, Weinstein acquired a stake in the exclusive Web community aSmallWorld,           
and a DVD distributor, Genius Products.