|Francis Ford Coppola|
|Born||April 7, 1939 (age 74)|
|Residence||Napa Valley, California, U.S.|
|Education||Great Neck North High School|
|Hofstra University & UCLA|
|Occupation||Film director, producer, screenwriter|
|Home town||Woodside, Queens, New York, U.S.|
|Spouse(s)||Elenor Jessie Neil
(1963 - present)
|Children||Gian-Carlo Coppola (deceased)
Roman Coppola Sofia Coppola
|Family||Talia Shire (sister)
August Coppola (brother) Nicolas Cage (nephew) Anton Coppola (uncle) Gia Coppola (granddaughter from Gian-Carlo)
Francis Ford Coppola (born April 7, 1939) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. In 1970, he won the Oscar for best original screenplay as co-writer, with Edmund H. North, of Patton (1970). His directorial prominence was cemented with the release in 1972 of The Godfather, a film which revolutionized movie-making in the gangster genre, earning praise from both critics and the public before winning three Academy Awards—including his second Oscar (Best Adapted Screenplay, with Mario Puzo), Best Picture, and his first nomination for Best Director. He followed with The Godfather Part II in 1974, which became the first sequel to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Highly regarded by critics, it brought him three more Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture, and made him the second director, after Billy Wilder, to be honored three times for the same film. The Conversation, which he directed, produced and wrote, was released that same year, winning the Palme d'Or at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival. He next directed 1979's Apocalypse Now. Notorious for its over-long and strenuous production, the film was nonetheless critically acclaimed for its vivid and stark depiction of the Vietnam War, winning the Palme d'Or at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival. Coppola is one of only eight filmmakers to win two Palme d'Or awards. While a number of Coppola's ventures in the 1980s and 1990s were critically lauded, he has never quite achieved the same commercial success with films as in the 1970s.
Coppola was born in Detroit, Michigan, to father Carmine Coppola, a flautist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and mother Italia (née Pennino). Coppola is the second of three children: his older brother was August Coppola, his younger sister is actress Talia Shire. Born into a family of Italian immigrant ancestry, his paternal grandparents came to the United States from Bernalda, Basilicata. Coppola received his middle name in honor of Henry Ford, not only because he was born in the Henry Ford Hospital but because of his musician-father's association with the automobile manufacturer. At the time of Coppola's birth, his father was a flautist as well as arranger and assistant orchestra director for The Ford Sunday Evening Hour, an hour-long concert music radio series sponsored by the Ford Motor Company. Two years after Coppola's birth, his father was named principal flautist for the NBC Symphony Orchestra and the family moved to New York, settling in Woodside, Queens, where Coppola spent the remainder of his childhood. Contracting polio as a boy, Coppola was bedridden for large periods of his childhood, allowing him to indulge his imagination with homemade puppet theater productions. Reading A Streetcar Named Desire at age 15 was instrumental in developing his interest in theater. Eager to be involved in film-craft, he created 8mm features edited from home movies with such titles as The Rich Millionaire and The Lost Wallet. As a child, Coppola was a mediocre student, but he was so much interested in technology and engineering that his friends nicknamed him "Science". Trained initially for a career in music, he became proficient on the tuba and won a music scholarship to the New York Military Academy.Overall, Coppola attended 23 other schools before he eventually graduated from the Great Neck North High School. He entered Hofstra University in 1955 with a major in theater arts. There he was awarded a scholarship in playwriting. This furthered his interest in directing theater despite the disapproval of his father, who wanted him to study engineering.Coppola was profoundly impressed after seeing Sergei Eisenstein’s October: Ten Days That Shook the World, especially with the movie's quality of editing. It was at this time Coppola decided he would go into cinema rather than theater. Coppola says he was tremendously influenced to become a writer early on by his brother, August, in whose footsteps he would also follow by attending both of his brother's almae matres: Hofstra and UCLA. Coppola also gives credit to the work of Elia Kazan and for its influence on him as a director. Amongst Coppola's classmates at Hofstra were James Caan, Lainie Kazan and radio artist Joe Frank. He later cast Caan in The Rain People and The Godfather.
In February 1963, Coppola married Eleanor Neil, whom he met on the set of Dementia 13. They had three children: Gian-Carlo, born 1963; Roman, born 1965 and Sofia, born 1971. Gian-Carlo Coppola, was in the early stages of a film production career when he was killed on May 26, 1986 in a speedboat accident. His daughter Gia was born to Jacqui de la Fontaine after he died in 1986 and is now an actress. Sofia Coppola appeared in all three Godfather films, the first two movies uncredited: as the infant being baptised at the end of The Godfather; as a young child on board ship in The Godfather Part II and in a supporting role as Michael Corleone's daughter Mary in The Godfather Part III and is now an Academy Award-winning writer and nominated director. Her films include The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation. In 2004, she became the first American woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director for Lost in Translation. Coppola's surviving son, Roman Coppola, is a filmmaker and music video director whose filmography includes the feature film CQ and music videos for The Strokes, as well as co-writing two Wes Anderson films, The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom. He was also second-unit director on Bram Stokers Dracula. Coppola often works with family members in his films: He cast his two sons in The Godfather as extras during the street fight scene involving Sonny and Carlo Rizzi and at Vito Corleone’s funeral. His sister, Talia Shire, played Connie Corleone in all three Godfather films. His father Carmine, a composer and professional musician, co-wrote much of the music for The Godfather, The Godfather Part II (for which he received an Oscar for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, shared with Nino Rota) and The Godfather Part III (for which he was nominated for another Oscar for Best Original Song) and Apocalypse Now (for which he was nominated for a BAFTAAnthony Asquith Award for Film Music). In addition, Carmine and his wife Italia appear as the couple in the elevator scene in One from the Heart. Coppola's nephew, Nicolas Cage, son of his brother, the academic August Coppola, starred in Coppola's film Peggy Sue Got Married and was featured in Rumble Fish and The Cotton Club. Other famous members of Coppola's family include nephews Jason Schwartzman and Robert Schwartzman, sons of Talia Shire. Jason Schwartzman has starred in several films, includingRushmore and Slackers. He also co-wrote (along with director Wes Anderson and cousin Roman Coppola) and starred in the 2007 film The Darjeeling Limited. Robert Schwartzman is the lead singer in the band Rooney and appeared in The Princess Diaries as well as having small appearances in several films, including his cousin Sofia's The Virgin Suicides. An interesting insight into Coppola's attitudes and feelings was given when answering the standard Bernard Pivot questions at the conclusion of his interview episode of the Inside the Actors Studio TV programme (Season 7, Episode 14): What is your favourite word?: Hope - speranza What is your least favourite word?: No What turns you on?: Life, everything What turns you off?: For insurance purposes, kids can't go. I don't know the word. I hate it so much I don't even know it What sound or noise do you love?: The flute What sound or noise do you hate?: A gasoline leaf-blower What is your favourite curse-word?: I don't have a favourite curse word. If I curse in front of a woman, I give her $1. What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?: Architect What profession would you absolutely not like to do?: Executioner If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?: Welcome
In the 2002 poll of the Sight and Sound publication, Coppola ranked #4 in the Directors' top ten directors of all time and #10 in the Critics' top ten directors of all time. He featured at #17 in MovieMaker Magazine's 25 most influential directors of all-time. He also ranked #9 in toptenreviews' list of top directors of all time and at #21 in Entertainment Weekly's top 50 directors of all time. Four of Coppola's films, The Godfather; The Godfather Part II; Apocalypse Now and Patton featured in the Writers Guild of America, West list of 101 greatest screenplays ever. Three of his films feature in AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies: The Godfather (at #2), Apocalypse Now (at #28) and The Godfather Part II (at #32). The Godfather also ranks at #11 in AFI's 100 Years…100 Thrills. The following Coppola films were also nominated for the list: American Graffiti (1973) - Producer; The Conversation (1974) - Director/Producer/Screenwriter; Patton (1970) - Screenwriter. In 1991, he was honored with the Berlinale Camera at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 1992, he was awarded a Golden Lion – Honorary Award at the Venice Film Festival. In 1998, the Directors Guild of America honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was honored with a special 50th anniversary award for his impressive career at the 2002 San Sebastián International Film Festival. The same year he received a gala tribute from Film Society of Lincoln Center. In 2003, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Denver Film Festival. He was given an honorary award at the 2007 Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival. In 2010, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to honor him with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at the 2nd Governor's Awards in November. The honor was bestowed on him on November 13, along with Jean-Luc Godard, Kevin Brownlow and Eli Wallach. There are three generations of Oscar winners in the Coppola family: Carmine, his son Francis Ford, his granddaughter Sofia Coppola and his grandson Nicolas Cage. They are the second family to do so, the first being the Hustons - Walter Huston, John Huston and Anjelica Huston. Coppola serves as the "Honorary Consul H. E. Francis Ford Coppola" in San Francisco for the Central American nation of Belize. George Lucas said that he based the Han Solo character in Star Wars on Coppola.