American Director, Producer and Screenwriter. Cimino was an Academy Award-winning director who directed the 1978 Vietnam War masterpiece 'The Deer Hunter' which won five Academy Awards, including best picture and best director, but it was his follow-up film, 1980's big-budget 'Heaven's Gate' for which he will best be remembered. He attended Yale University as a fine arts major and received his masters from the University of New Haven in 1963, then moved to New York to study acting and ballet while working for a small company that produced documentary and industrial films. By the late 1960s, he had established himself as a director of TV commercials. In 1971, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue filmmaking. He began scriptwriting and received credit on 'Silent Running' (1972). He next worked on the screenplay for the Dirty Harry follow-up 'Magnum Force' (1973), starring Clint Eastwood. Cimino wrote and directed 'Thunderbolt and Lightfoot', an offbeat story that was a box office hit and gained an Oscar nomination for Jeff Bridges. His second film, 'The Deer Hunter', was a three-hour-plus look at events on the Vietnam battlefield and the home front, with Oscar-nominated performances by Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep and supporting actor Christopher Walken, who won. The film also won for editing and sound. Cimino then directed 'Heaven’s Gate' in 1980. Unfortunately, the film became an unmitigated disaster at the box office, earning only $3 million on a $44 million budget, and was panned by critics, leading to the downfall of the film’s distributor United Artists. Cimino made four more movies, including 'Year of the Dragon' (1985), 'The Sicilian' (1980), 'Desperate Hours' (1990) and 'Sunchaser' (1996) but none received the critical acclaim or box office success of his earlier work, thanks in part to the failure of 'Heaven’s Gate'.
Bio by: Louis du Mort