BARRY LEVINSON Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: Barry Levinson                                                                           
Born: 6 April 1942 Baltimore, Maryland                                                         
Barry Levinson (born April 6, 1942 in Baltimore, Maryland) is an Academy Award-winning         
American screenwriter, film director, actor, and producer of film and television.             
After growing up in Baltimore and graduating from Forest Park Senior High School,             
Levinson attended American University in Washington, D.C. before moving to Los                 
Angeles to work as an actor and writer. His first writing work was for variety                 
shows such as The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, The Lohman and Barkley Show, The               
Tim Conway Show, and The Carol Burnett Show.                                                   
After some success as a screenwriter (Silent Movie, 1976, High Anxiety (in which               
he made a cameo appearance as a bellboy), 1977, and the Oscar-nominated script (co-written     
by then-wife Valerie Curtin) ...And Justice for All, 1979), he began his career               
as a director with Diner (1982), for which he had also written the script and                 
which earned him a Best Screenplay Oscar nomination. Diner was the first of a                 
series of films set in the Baltimore of Levinson's youth. The other films in                   
this series were Tin Men (1987), starring Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito, and               
the turn-of-the-century immigrant family saga Avalon (which featured Elijah Wood               
in one of his earliest screen appearances), as well as the more recent Liberty                 
Heights (1999). All four movies were written and directed by Barry Levinson                   
himself; for the last two he also acted as producer.                                           
His biggest hit, both critically and financially, was Rain Man (1988) with                     
Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise (in which he also appeared as an antagonistic                   
doctor). The film won four Academy Awards including Best Director for Levinson.               
Other notable films in his directing career were The Natural (which starred                   
Robert Redford, who later directed Quiz Show, which included an appearance by                 
Levinson playing Dave Garroway) (1984), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) and Toys (1992),         
both with Robin Williams, and Bugsy (1991) with Warren Beatty.                                 
He directed Dustin Hoffman again in Wag the Dog (1997), a political comedy about               
a war staged in a film studio. He was also an uncredited co-writer on Dustin                   
Hoffman's transvestite comedy Tootsie (1982).                                                 
Barry partnered with producer Mark Johnson to form the film production company                 
Baltimore Pictures, until the duo parted ways in 1994.                                         
Apart from producing many of his own films, he has also been producer or                       
executive producer for such major productions as The Perfect Storm (directed by               
Wolfgang Petersen, 2000), Analyze That (2002, starring Robert de Niro as                       
neurotic mafia boss and Billy Crystal as his therapist), and Possession (2002,                 
based on the bestselling novel by A. S. Byatt). He also has a television                       
production company with Tom Fontana (The Levinson/Fontana Company) and served as               
executive producer for a number of their series, including Homicide: Life on the               
Street (which ran on NBC from 1993-1999) and the HBO prison drama Oz. Levinson                 
also played a main role in the short-lived TV series The Jury, where he played a               
judge (the role was uncredited).                                                               
Levinson published his first novel, Sixty-Six (ISBN 0-7679-1533-X), in 2003.                   
Like several of his films, it is semi-autobiographical and set in Baltimore in                 
the early 1960s.                                                                               
Levinson also directed the two webisodes of the American Express ads "The                     
Adventures of Seinfeld and Superman".                                                         
Levinson married his writing collaborator Valerie Curtin in 1975. They would                   
divorce seven years later. He later married Dianna Rhodes whom he met in                       
Baltimore while filming Diner.                                                                 
Levinson is a minority owner of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.