Anthony Minghella Biography

Anthony Minghella photo

Born: January 06, 1954

ANTHONY MINGHELLA

Date of Birth: January 6, 1954

Anthony Minghella's parents emigrated from Italy to England's Isle of Wight before he was born, and started a highly successful premium ice cream company. Although Anthony helped out with the business when he was young, his dream was to become a writer. He majored in English and drama at the University of Hull, where he met his wife, choreographer Carolyn Choa. After graduation, he worked as a drama professor while establishing himself as a playwright. In 1981, his play, Whale Music, was a huge success and he found himself in demand with television and radio offers coming his way.

In 1987, he began writing for Jim Henson's children's series The Storyteller, which was shown on the NBC network in the U.S.A. Minghella won a London Critics Best New Play award for the West End production of his play Made in Bangkok, but it was his directorial debut in 1991 with his screenplay Truly Madly Deeply that earned Minghella worldwide acclaim. The film, starring Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson, won the 1992 BAFTA Film Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Best Foreign Film Award from the Australian Film Institute, while Minghella won Most Promising Newcomer from the Evening Standard British Film Awards and a Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award.

His next project as a director was with a screenplay he didn't write himself—Mr. Wonderful (1993), starring Matt Dillon. The forgettable film was soon eclipsed by Minghella's next effort—he directed a screenplay he adapted from best-selling author Michael Ondaatje's novel The English Patient. The movie was a must-see, receiving critical applause. Although audience reaction was mixed, crowds flocked to the box office to see what all the talk was about. The English Patient (1996) earned an impressive 12 Oscar nominations, winning nine—including Best Picture and Best Director. It won many more awards around the world, including a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama and six BAFTA awards including Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Minghella next wrote and directed another adaptation of a novel—this time, Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley. Starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law, the film was a box office hit and earned five Oscar nominations. During a visit with Michael Ondaatje at the author's cabin just outside of Toronto, he handed Minghella a novel—Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain. The director/writer read it once he'd returned home and by the time he was through the book, he knew he had to turn it into a film. Starring Nicole Kidman, RenĂ©e Zellweger and Jude Law, the Civil War drama received eight nominations from the 2004 Golden Globes.

Minghella, was named a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in the 2001 Queen's Birthday Honors List. He died on March 18, 2008, of a hemorrhage following surgery to remove a growth on his neck. He was survived by his wife, Carolyn, and their two children, Max and Hannah.

Filmography:

Breaking and Entering(2007)
Cold Mountain(2003)
The Talented Mr. Ripley(1999)
The English Patient(1996)
Mr. Wonderful (1993)
Truly Madly Deeply (1991)
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