SAM MENDES Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Samuel Alexander Mendes                                                               
Born: 1 August 1965 Reading, Berkshire, England                                             
Samuel Alexander Mendes (born 1 August 1965) is an English stage and film                   
director. As a stage director, he is probably best known for his 1998 production           
of Cabaret, starring Alan Cumming. As a film director, he is best known for his             
debut film, American Beauty, for which he won an Academy Award for Directing. In           
2000, Mendes was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.                       
Mendes was born in Reading, Berkshire, England. He is the son of a Trinidadian             
Portuguese Protestant father and an English Jewish mother. His father, Peter, is           
the son of the Trinidadian writer Alfred Mendes, author of the novels Black                 
Fauns and Pitch Lake, and part of the group around CLR James and Albert Gomes               
which produced the Beacon literary magazine in the early 1930s. His secondary               
education was at Magdalen College School, Oxford, and he later attended                     
Peterhouse at the University of Cambridge, gaining a first class degree in                 
Mendes first attracted attention for his assured production of Chekhov's The               
Cherry Orchard in the West End starring Judi Dench. He was under 25. Soon he was           
directing plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company where his productions, many of           
them featuring Simon Russell Beale, included Troilus and Cressida, Richard III             
and The Tempest. These productions were praised for their clarity, intelligence             
and stylishness.                                                                           
He has also worked at the Royal National Theatre, directing Edward Bond's The               
Sea, Jim Cartwright's The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Harold Pinter's The               
Birthday Party, and Othello with Simon Russell Beale as Iago.                               
In 1992 he was appointed artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse, an intimate             
studio space in London's West End which he quickly transformed into one of the             
most exciting venues in the city. His opening production was Stephen Sondheim's             
Assassins which revelled in the show's dark, comic brilliance and rescued it               
from the critical opprobrium it had suffered on its American opening. He                   
followed this with a series of excellent classic revivals, many of which                   
attracted some of the finest actors and biggest stars of the decade. Among                 
Mendes's best productions were John Kander and Fred Ebb's Cabaret, Tennessee               
Williams's The Glass Menagerie, Stephen Sondheim's Company, Alan Bennett's                 
Habeas Corpus and his farewell duo of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night,             
which transferred to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. As artistic director Mendes             
also gave some of the country's finest younger directors the opportunity to do             
some of their best work: Matthew Warchus's production of Sam Shepard's True West,           
Katie Mitchell's of Beckett's Endgame, David Leveaux's of Sophocles's Elektra               
and Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing were amongst the most critically acclaimed of             
the decade. The Donmar's present artistic diretor Michael Grandage directed some           
of the key productions of the later part of Mendes's tenure, including Peter               
Nichols's Passion Play and Privates on Parade and Sondheim's Merrily We Roll