Robert Zemeckis. Circa 2004.
Robert Zemeckis on Wikipedia
Robert Zemeckis on the Internet Movie Database
Robert Zemeckis
Forecourt Ceremony held on Tuesday, July 8, 1997
Born: May 14, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois
Age at the time of the ceremony: 46
Robert Zemeckis is one of Hollywood's best-known directors. An astute showman, gifted filmmaker, and busy producer on films he directs as well as those he doesn't, Zemeckis has, on occasion, out-Spielberged even Steven Spielberg.

Zemeckis grew up on the south side of Chicago, in what he has described as a bookless, musicless, theatreless home. Naturally, the young boy became obsessed with television! At an early age, Robert began making films with the family 8mm movie camera. After seeing Bonnie and Clyde (released in September, 1967), Zemeckis knew what he wanted to do. His parents felt that he was reaching for the stars. . .

After attending Northern Illinois University and cutting news footage at the NBC affiliate, Zemeckis had to beg to be allowed to attend the Cinema School at the University of California. His hardscrabble Chicago background helped him face much of the rejection Hollywood would offer him. Graduating in 1973, Zemeckis showed his student film A Field of Honor to Steven Spielberg, who loved it, and became a mentor to him.

Spielberg produced Robert's first studio movie I Wanna Hold Your Hand (released in April, 1978) with Nancy Allen, then, he and writing partner Bob Gale, wrote the script for Spielberg's 1941 (released in December, 1979), with John Belushi. Undaunted, they all three worked on Robert's next directing effort, Used Cars (released in July, 1980) with Kurt Russell.

It was Michael Douglas who produced and starred in what might be considered Zemeckis' first hit: Romancing the Stone (released in March, 1984), but Zemeckis and Gale had a script Spielberg just loved called Back to the Future (which was released in July, 1985) with Michael J. Fox. It became a monster hit.

His next film is considered the last hurrah of conventional animation: Who Framed Roger Rabbit (released in June, 1988) with Bob Hoskins, combined animation with live action in one of the most popular releases of that year.

Zemeckis became the executive producer for 93 episodes of Tales from the Crypt, aired over HBO from June, 1989 to July, 1996, and banged out both Back to the Future Part II (released in November, 1989), and Back to the Future Part III (released in May, 1990), in short order. His dark comedy Death Becomes Her (released in July, 1992) with Meryl Streep, didn't fare so well, but it is always darkest before the dawn.

Forrest Gump (released in July, 1994) with Tom Hanks, was a three-hour tour de force, combining humor and pathos in the life story of a simpleton, interacting with famous people. The film was not only a whopping hit, but it brought Zemeckis the Best Director Oscar, as well as an Oscar for Tom Hanks, and the Best Picture Oscar as well.

Robert's interest in the sciences led to his post-Gump "bet-the-farm" film of astronomer Carl Sagan's Contact (which played the Chinese in July, 1997) with Jodie Foster. If nothing else, it has the greatest opening scene in a movie since Things to Come (released in September, 1936). This led to him being executive producer for 10 episodes of Perversions of Science, aired over HBO in 1997.

After taking it easy for a bit, Zemeckis returned to direct What Lies Beneath (released in July, 2000) with Harrison Ford, and then turned in his masterpeice, Cast Away (released in December, 2000) where Tom Hanks, armed only with a volleyball, captured romantics everywhere.

He worked with director Ridley Scott on Matchstick Men (released in September, 2003), then led the charge into computer performance-capturewith Tom Hanks in The Polar Express (released in November, 2004). He was one of eight producers for House of Wax, with Paris Hilton ( ! true story!) (released in May, 2005), and was executive producer on Monster House (released in July, 2006).

Performance capture propelled his adaptation of Beowulf (released in November, 2007) with Ray Winstone, while he was one of 11 producers on Gothika (released in November, 2008), with Halle Berry.

Zemeckis, raised a Catholic, helmed the CGI animated A Christmas Carol (released in November, 2009) with Jim Carrey, then directed Flight (released in November, 2012) with Denzel Washington, and The Walk (which played the Chinese in October, 2015) with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The World War II set Allied (released in November, 2016) with Brad Pitt, kinda went nowhere. Zemeckis was exec producer on Manifest, airing over NBC, beginning in September, 2018, as well as Medal of Honor, streaming over Netflix beginning in November, 2018. His next film is Welcome to Marween (released in December, 2018) with Steve Carell.
Caption TK

Mann's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Robert Zemeckis Forecourt ceremony, Tuesday, July 8, 1997. Zemeckis shows his mitts while son Alex, who holds hands with his mother, Mary Ellen Trainor.

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