TAYLOR HACKFORD (Director) is an Oscar-winning filmmaker with a diverse and acclaimed body of work. In 2005 Hackford completed his 15-year quest to tell the life story of Ray Charles. RAY, which he directed, produced and co-wrote, was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture. The film won two Oscars, one for Jamie Foxx as Best Actor and another for Best Sound. The film's soundtrack also garnered two Grammy Awards and a host of other accolades. More recently Hackford directed Love Ranch, starring Academy Award winners Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci.
Hackford graduated from USC in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations and economics. He was a Trustee Scholar at USC and in his senior year served as the university's student body president. In 2010 Hackford received USC's most prestigious alumni award, The Asa V. Call Award.
From 1968 to 1969 Hackford served as a Peace Corps volunteer in La Paz, Bolivia. In 1969 he began his entertainment career at KCET, the Los Angeles public television affiliate. There he pioneered the presentation of uninterrupted rock 'n' roll performances on American television. In addition to creating several award-winning documentaries for the station's cultural department, he also served as an investigative reporter in the news division. Hackford received an Associated Press Award, a Peabody and two Emmy awards for his journalism work.
In 1979 Hackford won an Academy Award in the category of Best Live-Action Short Film for his first dramatic effort, TEENAGE FATHER. The following year Hackford began production on his feature directorial debut THE IDOLMAKER, starring Ray Sharkey and Peter Gallagher. The tale of a talented rock 'n' roll songwriter and manager who lived vicariously through the teen idols he created, The Idolmaker has become a classic of its genre.
AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger, was Hackford's second film and became a commercial and critical hit in 1982. It received five Academy Award nominations and brought home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Louis Gossett, Jr. as well as the Oscar for Best Original Song ("Up Where We Belong"). In addition Hackford was nominated for the DGA's Outstanding Directorial Achievement Award.
Hackford has functioned as both director and producer on all his subsequent films. Among them are AGAINST ALL ODDS, starring Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward and James Woods; WHITE NIGHTS, starring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gregory Hines, Helen Mirren and Isabella Rossellini; EVERYBODY'S ALL-AMERICAN, starring Dennis Quaid, Jessica Lange and John Goodman; the acclaimed documentary CHUCK BERRY: HAIL! HAIL! ROCK 'N' ROLL, featuring Chuck Berry and Keith Richards, which was selected by both the Toronto and New York film festivals; LA BAMBA, the Richie Valens biopic that launched Lou Diamond Phillips' career; BLOOD IN... BLOOD OUT, which earned Hackford the trophy for Best Director at the 1993 Tokyo Film Festival; DOLORES CLAIBORNE, starring Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh, which was selected for screening at the 1995 Venice, Deauville and Tokyo film festivals; and PROOF OF LIFE, with Meg Ryan, Russell Crowe and David Morse.
Hackford formed New Visions Pictures to produce modestly budgeted movies with other directors. Some of his producing credits include the much lauded THE LONG WALK HOME, directed by Richard Pierce and starring Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg; MORTAL THOUGHTS, directed by Alan Rudolph and starring Demi Moore, Glenn Headley and Bruce Willis; DEFENSELESS, directed by Martin Campbell and starring Barbara Hershey, Mary Beth Hurt and Sam Shepard; and QUEENS LOGIC, directed by Steve Rash and featuring an ensemble cast that included John Malkovich, Kevin Bacon, Joe Mantegna, Jamie Lee Curtis and Linda Fiorentino.
In 1996 Hackford discovered unreleased documentary footage of the legendary 1974 Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman title fight in Zaire. He restructured the footage, conducted present-day interviews with Norman Mailer, George Plimpton and Spike Lee, and added footage of the original fight to create feature-length documentary WHEN WE WERE KINGS. It was a hit at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival and won the 1997 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Hackford has been a dedicated member of the Directors Guild of America for more than 35 years and was elected DGA president in 2009.
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