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Winkler, Irwin


WINKLER, IRWIN (1931– ), U.S. film producer. Born in New York City, Winkler graduated from New York University. He served in the army beginning in 1951. After a brief stint as an agent at the William Morris agency, he went to Hollywood in 1966. His first production, with a partner, Robert Chart-off, was Double Trouble (1967), starring Elvis Presley (instead of the star he intended for the role, Julie Christie). From that point, Winkler and Chartoff went on to produce some of the most provocative films of the 1970s and 1980s, including John Boorman's Point Blank (1967); Sydney Pollack's They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), which garnered nine Academy Award nominations; John Avildsen's Rocky (1976) and the four other Rocky movies; Martin Scorsese's New York, New York (1977), starring Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro; and Raging Bull (1980), with De Niro as the boxer Jake LaMotta; as well as The Right Stuff (1983), based on Tom Wolfe's book about the nation's first astronauts. On his own, Winkler produced such films as Costa-Gavras' Betrayed (1988) and Music Box (1989) as well as Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990). Winkler then turned to directing, and made films like Guilty by Suspicion (1991), which he also wrote, starring De Niro; Night and the City (1992), based on Jules Dassin's film noir; the suspense thriller The Net (1995), with Sandra Bullock; and At First Sight (1999), with Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino. His films amassed 12 Academy Awards from 45 nominations, including four best picture nominations. He also directed and produced the critically acclaimed drama Life as a House, starring Kevin Kline, Hayden Christensen, and Kristen Scott Thomas, and The Shipping News (both 2001), based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by E. Annie Proulx and starring Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, and Judi Dench. Winkler teamed with Kline again for De-Lovely (2004), a biography of the songwriter Cole Porter. Three of Winkler's films were listed on the American Film Institute list of the top 100 films of all time.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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