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Barry Levinson

Filmmaker

Born: 6 April 1942
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland
Best known as: The director of Diner and Rain Man
Barry Levinson is a successful writer-director-producer whose credits include the TV series Homicide: Life on the Street (1993) and the box office hits Rain Man (1988, with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman) and Wag the Dog (1997, with Hoffman and Robert DeNiro). Originally a stand-up comedian, Levinson got a career boost as a writer for Carol Burnett's hit TV show in the early 1970s. He went on to become a screenwriter in the late '70s, notably for comedian Mel Brooks on the films Silent Movie (1976), High Anxiety (1977) and History of the World, Part I (1981); he also earned an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for ...And Justice For All (1979, starring Al Pacino). His debut as a director, the 1982 film Diner (1982), propelled him into the big-time, as well as identifying him with his hometown of Baltimore, a locale also featured prominently in his films Tin Men (1988) and Avalon (1991). Levinson's other credits include The Natural (1985, starring Robert Redford); Good Morning, Vietnam (1987, starring Robin Williams); Bugsy (1991, starring Warren Beatty); Bandits (2001, with Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton); Envy (2004, with Ben Stiller and Jack Black); Man of the Year (2006); and What Just Happened? (2008, with DeNiro, Willis and Catherine Keener).
Extra credit: 2004's Uniform, a short film available on the Web starring Jerry Seinfeld and Superman, was directed by Levinson... Levinson has been nominated for an Oscar five times, twice for directing and three times for writing; he won the Best Director Oscar for Rain Man.

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