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Biography #2

Sam Mendes was already a celebrated theatre director when he made his feature film directorial debut on the Academy Award®-winning Best Picture American Beauty, which was a box office smash and 1999's most honored film. Mendes won numerous Best Director awards for his work on American Beauty, including the Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, the Directors Guild of America Award, the Los Angeles Film Critics Award and the Broadcast Film Critics Award, among others.

Mendes continues to direct for the theatre and has mounted award-winning productions on the stages of London and New York, and around the world. Perhaps his most noted triumph was his bold revival of the musical Cabaret, first in London and then on Broadway. The Broadway production garnered four Tony Awards, including one for Best Revival of a Musical, three Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards. Mendes also earned acclaim for his direction of the Broadway play The Blue Room, starring Nicole Kidman. He 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, which brought him 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 where he directed numerous award-winning productions. During his tenure, he won Olivier Awards for Best Director for his work on the aforementioned Cabaret, The Glass Menagerie and Company. 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. Apart from the Donmar, his credits 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.

In 2000, Mendes was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Bio courtesy DreamWorks (19-Jul-2002)


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