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SAM MENDES (Director), one of today's most celebrated theatre directors, has mounted award-winning productions on the stages of London, New York and around the world. "American Beauty" marks his feature film directorial debut.

Mendes' many triumphs include the acclaimed revival of the musical "Cabaret," first in London and then on Broadway. The latter production garnered four Tony Awards, including one for Best Revival of a Musical, three Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards. He also directed "The Blue Room" on Broadway, starring Nicole Kidman. Mendes had previously directed the award-winning London production of "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice," introducing Jane Horrocks, who reprised her role in the film version, "Little Voice."

Born in England, Mendes was educated at Cambridge University and joined the Chichester Festival Theatre following his graduation in 1987. Soon after, he directed Dame Judi Dench in "The Cherry Orchard," for which he won a Critics Circle Award for Best Newcomer. He then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1990, where he directed such productions as "Troilus and Cressida" with Ralph Fiennes, "Richard III," and "The Tempest," for which he earned an Olivier Award nomination.

In 1992, Mendes became artistic director of the reopened Donmar Warehouse in London. There, he has directed numerous award-winning productions, including the aforementioned "Cabaret," "The Glass Menagerie" and "Company," for each of which he won the Olivier Award for Best Director. His other work at the Donmar includes "Assassins," which won a Critic's Circle Award, "Translations," "Glengarry Glen Ross," "Habeas Corpus" and "The Front Page." His credits elsewhere have included "The Sea" and "The Plough and the Stars," both with Judi Dench, "The Birthday Party," and "Othello," which toured the world and for which he received another Olivier Award for Best Director.

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