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Francis Ford Coppola
Birthday: April 7, 1939
Place: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Height: 0' 0"
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| One of the most acclaimed directors of the 1970s, Francis Ford Coppola spearheaded a renaissance in American filmmaking, heralding a golden age which he defined through masterpieces ranging from The Conversation to Apocalypse Now to his crowning achievement, The Godfather. One of his era's most impassioned talents, Coppola was also one of its most erratic; in both his career and his personal life, he experienced euphoric triumph and shattering tragedy, pushing the limits of the cinematic form with a daring and fervor which became the hallmarks of not only his greatest successes but also his most notorious failures.The son of composer Carmine Coppola, he was born April 7, 1939, in Detroit, MI. Raised in New York, he began making amateur films while still a child and later enrolled in the famed U.C.L.A. Film School in 1960. Upon entering the film industry by helming a number of softcore porn flicks, Coppola was approached by B-movie mogul Roger Corman to direct his first feature, Dementia 13, in 1963. While his Samuel Goldwyn Award-winning student screenplay Pilma, Pilma went unproduced, Coppola's 1966 U.C.L.A. thesis project, a freewheeling comedy titled You're a Big Boy Now, was distributed theatrically by Warner Bros., and that same year he collaborated on the screenplays of the features Is Paris Burning? and This Property Is Condemned. In 1968 he completed his first studio film, the box-office bomb Finian's Rainbow, followed the next year by The Rain People.When he was just 31, Coppola won his first Academy Award for his work on the screenplay of 1970's Patton. Despite his recent success, however, he was on the edge of financial ruin after sinking his money into an ill-fated venture called Scopitone, a device which enabled short movies to be run on a jukebox. On the verge of bankruptcy, he was approached by Paramount to adapt the Mario Puzo best-seller The Godfather. The film was released in 1972 to unprecedented critical and commercial success, emerging as one of the highest-grossing films in Hollywood history and netting a total of four Oscars, including awards for Best Actor (Marlon Brando) and Best Picture. A majestic Mafia epic starring Brando as well as Al Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall, The Godfather was declared an instant classic, and its stature only grew in the years following its initial appearance.Coppola's next move was to write the screenplay for the 1974 adaptation of The Great Gatsby. He then turned to the masterful The Conversation, a taut political thriller which mirrored the events of Watergate and earned the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. At the peak of his powers, Coppola closed out 1974 by premiering The Godfather, Pt. 2, a powerful and ambitious follow-up built around a complex parallel narrative structure spanning a period of 30 years. The second film's success was perhaps even more staggering than the first: The Godfather, Pt. 2 garnered six more Oscars, including a win for Coppola in the Best Director category; Robert DeNiro won his first Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actor field; and the movie itself became the first and only sequel ever to win Best Picture honors.Next, Coppola began adapting the Joseph Conrad novel Heart of Darkness, transferring its story to the heart of the Cambodian jungle at the height of the conflict in Vietnam. The result was Apocalypse Now, a grandiose work of flawed genius which nearly destroyed the lives and careers of all involved. Beginning with the heart attack of star Martin Sheen, the film suffered catastrophe after catastrophe, quickly going over budget and over schedule; as Coppola himself later noted, "little by little we went crazy." Begun in 1976, Apocalypse Now was not completed until three years and 30 million dollars later, where it premiered at Cannes as the winner of the Palm d'Or. It was subsequently released to wildly mixed reviews, despite garnering a pair of Oscars. Whatever its artistic merits, Apocalypse Now marked the beginning of a long downward spiral, as Coppola's brand of filmmaking grew more and more out of control; its follow-up, 1982's One From the Heart, was an extravagant commercial and critical bust which left him some 30 million dollars in debt. He also agreed to finance film adaptations of the S.E. Hinton novels The Outsiders and Rumble Fish; neither picture found favor with audiences or reviewers, but together they launched a new generation of movie stars, offering early screen appearances by the likes of Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Nicolas Cage (Coppola's nephew), Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, and Emilio Estevez. Coppola next mounted The Cotton Club, an ambitious musical centered around the legendary Harlem jazz venue of the 1920s. After nearly 40 script rewrites, production finally began, but the director's passions again got the best of him and the project spun out of control, resulting in a 48-million-dollar box-office disaster. With his back against the wall, Coppola became a work-for-hire filmmaker for the first time in over a decade, agreeing to helm the frothy 1986 time-travel comedy Peggy Sue Got Married. The film was a popular success, and he soon accepted an offer to direct the Vietnam War-era drama Gardens of Stone, which failed to find an audience, a disappointment which barely registered in light of the 1986 death of his son, Gio, in a boating accident. Ultimately, the poor showing of 1988's Tucker: The Man and His Dream — a long-planned biography of another maverick, a real-life automotive visionary who had dared to take on the Big Three during the 1940s — proved a fatal blow, and two years later Coppola's American Zoetrope studio was forced to declare bankruptcy. In desperate need of a hit, he agreed to direct The Godfather, Pt. 3, the long-awaited concluding chapter to the trilogy begun nearly 20 years prior. Despite garnering a Best Picture nomination, the 1990 film was widely considered a failure, barely recouping Paramount's 50-million-dollar investment. However, 1992's lavish adaptation Bram Stoker's Dracula was a hit, restoring much of Coppola's box-office lustre; in a similar vein, he agreed to co-produce Kenneth Branagh's 1994 effort Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. His next directorial effort was The Rainmaker, based on the courtroom drama by novelist John Grisham. The 1998 film drew a number of positive reviews, further helping to restore the director to good standing. The following year, he concentrated his efforts on producing, serving in this capacity on a number of projects, including Nick Stagliano's The Florentine.
- Caught polio when he was a child. During his quarantine, he practiced puppetry.
- Some sources say he is the uncle of Alan Coppola, but Alan's name does not appear on any family tree authorized by the Coppola family.
- Like Martin Scorsese, Coppola was a sickly youth, a case of polio which allowed him time to indulge in puppet theater and home movies.
- Brother of Talia Shire.
- Father of Mary Coppola, Sofia Coppola, Roman Coppola & Gian-Carlo Coppola
- Son of composer Carmine Coppola.
- Uncle of Nicolas Cage, Christopher Coppola Marc Coppola, Robert Schwartzman, Jason Schwartzman, 'John Schwartzman (I)', and Stephanie Schwartzman.
- M.F.A. from University of California. 
- Since 1978, owner and operator of a Rutherford, California vineyard making Rubicon wine.
- Coppola began his winery enterprise by buying portion of historic Inglenook estate in 1975. His success in field is explored in book "A Sense of Place" by Steven Kolpan, 1999.
- Brother-in-law of Bill Neil.
- Was in the early stages of developing a script for a fourth Godfather film with Mario Puzo which was to tell the story of the early lives of Sonny, Fredo and Michael. After Puzo's death in July of 1999, Coppola abandoned the project, stating that he couldn't do it without his friend.
- As of 2002, he is one of only four people to simultaneously win Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (the other three being James L. Brooks, Billy Wilder, and Leo McCarey).
- As of May 2002, the number of Coppola-family members appearing in or contributing to filmmaking stands at thirteen, spread over three generations.
- Francis Ford Coppola has been in competition with Bob Fosse on several occasions. In 1972, Coppola was nominated for the Best Director Oscar (The Godfather), but lost to Fosse (Cabaret). In 1974, Fosse was nominated for Best Director (Lenny) but lost to Coppola (The Godfather Part II). In 1979, both were nominated as directors (Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz), but both lost. When Fosse won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival (Coppola won the previous year), he tied with Akira Kurasawa, whose movie was produced by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola.
- Uncle of Matthew Orlando Shire, John Schwartzman and Stephanie Schwartzman. Grandfather of Gia Coppola. Father of Gian-Carlo Coppola. Great-uncle of Weston Coppola Cage.
- Has released his own line of specialty foods.
- As a child his bedroom was covered with pictures of his favourite film star, Jane Powell. When he discovered she´d married Geary Anthony Steffen, Jr. he tore them all down.
- His wife arranged for him to meet Jane Powell as a 40th birthday present.
- Out of all his peers who rose to fame and power in the 1970s "Golden Age" era, he is perhaps the only filmmaker still married to his first wife.
- Frequently casts Robert Duvall, the late John Cazale, Nicolas Cage, Diane Keaton, Matt Dillon, and Laurence Fishburne.
- Made a commercial for Suntory whiskey with legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa in the 1970s, an event which later influenced a salient plot point in his daughter Sofia's movie, Lost in Translation (2003).
- Was voted the 21st Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
- Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945- 1985". Pages 227-234. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
- George Lucas said that he based the Han Solo character from the Star Wars trilogy on Coppola.
- Serves as the Honorary Ambassador of the Central American nation of Belize in San Francisco, California, USA. On their official roster of worldwide honorary consulates found on their official website, he is referred to as "His Excellency Ambassador Francis Ford Coppola," although he is not a Belizean citizen.
- In 1971 and 1973, George C. Scott and Marlon Brando refused their respective Best Actor awards for Patton (1970) and The Godfather (1972) - both written by Coppola.
- Four of his relatives have been involved in the Star Wars films of his friend George Lucas. His brother-in-law, Bill Neil, worked at Industrial Light and Magic during the production of the original trilogy. His daughter, Sophia, and son, Roman, played a handmaiden and Naboo guard, respectively, in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. His nephew, Christopher Neil, who worked as a dialogue coach for both Francis (on Jack and The Rainmaker) and Sophia (on The Virgin Suicides), did the same job on Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith--a job for which Coppola recommended him. In addition, his late older son was named Gian-Carlo. In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, there is a Naboo vehicle called the Gian Speeder.
- Often casts his own real-life extended family members in his films. In the case of the Godfather films, their characters' relationships to Michael Corleone often paralleled their real-life relationship to Coppola. He cast his sister, Talia Shire, as Michael's sister Connie, and his daughter, Sofia Coppola, as Michael's daughter Mary - named for Coppola's other daughter. In addition, Diane Keaton said that she modeled her performance as Kay Adams after Elanor Coppola, since both Kay and Coppola are protestants who married into Italian Catholic families.
- Since the mid-90s, he has been writing and re-writing an original screenplay entitled "Megalopolis". Described as "one man's quest to build utopia set in modern-day New York," the project has been delayed due to Coppola's constant tinkering with the script and the fact that the director is attempting to finance it himself. Several A-list actors have had their names attached to it and a great excess of second-unit footage (shot in 24p HD) has been captured by Coppola and the film's cinematographer, Ron Fricke of 'Baraka' (1992) fame.
- Directed 12 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Geraldine Page, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Robert De Niro, Michael V. Gazzo, Lee Strasberg, Talia Shire, Kathleen Turner, Andy Garcia and Martin Landau. Brando and De Niro won their Oscar for their performances as Vito Corleone.
- In 1975, he accepted the Oscar for "Best Actor in a Supporting Role" on behalf of Robert De Niro, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony. De Niro won for his performance in Coppola's The Godfather: Part II (1974).
- The only person to direct a sibling in an Oscar-nominated performance (his sister Talia Shire was nominated as "Best Actress in a Supporting Role" for The Godfather: Part II (1974))
- He and his sister Talia Shire are the first brother and sister to be Oscar-nominated in the same year (1975)
- President of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996
- He is among an elite group of five directors who have won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay (Original/Adapted) for the same film. In 1975 he won all three for The Godfather: Part II (1974). The others are Leo McCarey, Billy Wilder, James L. Brooks and Peter Jackson.
- Co-owns the Rubicon restaurant in San Francisco with Robert DeNiro and fellow Bay area resident Robin Williams
- Was involved in both movies that his father and his daughter won Oscars: He was the director of _The Godfather: Part II (1974)_ which won his father an Oscar for "Best Music, Original Dramatic Score" and he was the executive producer of Lost in Translation (2003) which won his daughter the Oscar for "Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen"
- There are three generations of Oscar winners in the Coppola family: Francis, his father Carmine Coppola, his nephew Nicolas Cage and his daughter Sofia Coppola. They are the second family to do so, the first family is the Hustons - Anjelica Huston, John Huston and Walter Huston.
- Since the mid-90s (and possibly even earlier), he has been writing and re-writing an original screenplay entitled "Megalopolis". Described as "one man's quest to build utopia set in modern-day New York," the project has been delayed due to Coppola's constant tinkering with the script and the fact that the director is attempting to finance it himself. Several A-list actors have had their names attached to it and a great excess of second-unit footage (shot in 24p HD) has been captured by Coppola and the film's cinematographer, Ron Fricke of _Baraka_ (1992) fame.
- Currently owns 2 resorts in Belize and 1 in Guatemala. They are the Blancaneaux Lodge in the Pine Ridge Region, Turtle Inn in Placencia and La Lancha near Tikal in Guatemala.
Naked Photos of Francis Ford Coppola are available at MaleStars.com. They
currently feature over 65,000 Nude Pics, Biographies, Video Clips,
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