Robert Lee Zemeckis

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Robert Lee Zemeckis

Lithuanian: Robertas Žemeckas
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Private and Private
Husband of Private
Ex-husband of Mary Ellen Zemeckis
Father of Private; Private; Private and Private
Brother of Private

Occupation: Film director, producer, screen writer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • Private
      child
    • Private
      spouse
    • Private
      child
    • Private
      child
    • Private
      child
    • Private
      parent
    • Private
      parent
    • Private
      sibling

About Robert Lee Zemeckis

Robert Lee Zemeckis (/zəˈmɛkɪs/; born May 14, 1952) is an American director, film producer and screenwriter frequently credited as an innovator in visual effects. He first came to public attention in the 1980s as the director of Romancing the Stone (1984) and the science-fiction comedy Back to the Future film trilogy, as well as the live-action/animated comedy Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). In the 1990s he directed Death Becomes Her and then diversified into more dramatic fare, including 1994's Forrest Gump, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director; the film itself won Best Picture. The films he has directed have ranged across a wide variety of genres, for both adults and families.

Zemeckis' films are characterized by an interest in state-of-the-art special effects, including the early use of the insertion of computer graphics into live-action footage in Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Forrest Gump, and the pioneering performance capture techniques seen in The Polar Express (2004), Monster House (2006), Beowulf (2007), A Christmas Carol (2009) and Welcome to Marwen (2018). Though Zemeckis has often been pigeonholed as a director interested only in special effects, his work has been defended by several critics including David Thomson, who wrote that "No other contemporary director has used special effects to more dramatic and narrative purpose."

Early life Robert Lee Zemeckis was born on May 14, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Rosa (née Nespeca) and Alphonse Zemeckis. His father was Lithuanian-American while his mother was Italian-American. Zemeckis grew up on the south side of the city. He attended a Roman Catholic grade school and Fenger High School. Zemeckis has said "the truth was that in my family there was no art. I mean, there was no music, there were no books, there was no theater... The only thing I had that was inspirational, was television—and it actually was."

As a child, he loved television and was fascinated by his parents' 8 mm film home movie camera. Starting off by filming family events like birthdays and holidays, he gradually began producing narrative films with his friends that incorporated stop-motion work and other special effects. Along with enjoying movies, Zemeckis remained an avid TV watcher. "You hear so much about the problems with television," he said, "but I think that it saved my life." Television gave Zemeckis his first glimpse of a world outside of his blue-collar upbringing; specifically, he learned of the existence of film schools on an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. After seeing Bonnie and Clyde with his father and being heavily influenced by it, Zemeckis decided that he wanted to go to film school. His parents disapproved of the idea, Zemeckis later said, "But only in the sense that they were concerned... for my family and my friends and the world that I grew up in, this was the kind of dream that really was impossible. My parents would sit there and say, 'Don't you see where you come from? You can't be a movie director.' I guess maybe some of it I felt I had to do in spite of them, too."

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Robert Lee Zemeckis's Timeline

1952
May 14, 1952
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States