1995: Steven Spielberg
23rd AFI Life Achievement Award

On March 2,1995, Steven Spielberg recieved the AFI Life Achievement Award at Merv Griffin's Beverly Hilton Hotel.



Steven Spielberg was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 18, 1947. "I use my childhood in all my pictures and all the time I go back there to find ideas and stories." Spielberg at seven.



For Steven Spielberg's first film's premiere, his father rented a local theater, and his mother and sisters sold popcorn and sodas. Spielberg's first commercial venture grossed $600, netting him a profit of $100.



Unable to get his 8mm films seen by Hollywood executives, 20-year-old Steven Spielberg convinced a friend to bankroll the $10,000 he needed to make the 35mm AMBLIN' (1969), the story of a boy and girl hitchhiking to the Pacific Ocean. It was his first collaboration with cinematographer Allen Daviau, with whom he would go on to make E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, THE COLOR PURPLE, and EMPIRE OF THE SUN. With Daviau.



After seeing AMBLIN', Universal's head of television production, Sidney Sheinberg, signed Steven Spielberg to a seven-year contract to direct TV programs for $275 a week. Spielberg had one request: "I want to direct something before I'm twenty-one; that would be very important to me." He got his wish with NIGHT GALLERY (1969), starring Joan Crawford.



Universal agreed to let Steven Spielberg make his first feature, THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS (1974), provided he find an experienced producer and cast a star in the lead role. Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown agreed to produce and Goldie Hawn signed on to star. With Goldie Hawn, William Atherton, and Michael Saks.



"There was nothing normal about making JAWS (1975)," remembers Roy Scheider. "I did my own stuntwork, not because I wanted to-hell, I'm no hero-but because we were working on a boat in tight spaces and really had to show the danger in the shark hunt." With Richard Dreyfuss and Scheider.



Steven Spielberg on the set of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977).


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