Chris Columbus Biography

Chris Columbus photo

Born: September 10, 1958


Date of Birth: September 10, 1958

Born in Spangler, Pennsylvania and raised in Ohio, Chris Columbus aspired to draw cartoons for Marvel Comics and eventually discovered that comic books resemble the storyboards directors sketch for their movies. He was first inspired to make movies after seeing The Godfather at age 15. In high school, he began making 8mm films and drawing his own storyboards.

After enrolling in the Directors Program at NYU film school, he sold his first movie script, Jocks (never produced), a semi-autobiographical comedy about a Catholic schoolboy who tries out for the football team. Though heavily rewritten by others for the screen, this piece got Columbus' foot in the door.

After graduation, Columbus wrote a steel-town drama called Reckless, based on his experiences as a factory worker in Ohio. The film starred Daryl Hannah and Aidan Quinn. He then tried to sell his fourth script, Gremlins, with no success, until Steven Spielberg optioned it; Columbus moved to Los Angeles for a year during rewrites on the project in Spielberg's bungalow at Universal. The film blended warmth and whimsy with violent slapstick and some truly mean-spirited moments, and was even more vicious than what we saw on screen before it was cleaned up by Spielberg himself. The success of Gremlins secured Columbus future writing assignments on such Spielberg projects as Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) and The Goonies (1986).

He also came up with the concept for a 1986 TV cartoon series, Galaxy High School, about an extraterrestrial school populated by weird-looking space aliens. Columbus was given a chance to direct the medium-budget teen comedy Adventures in Babysitting in 1988. He followed this with Home Alone (1990), which made obscene amounts of money and planted Columbus firmly on the Hollywood "A" list.

Continuing to alternate between writing and directing into the 1990s, Columbus remains a permanent Hollywood fixture, churning out such box-office blockbusters as Home Alone 2: Lost in New York(1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Nine Months (1995), Stepmom (1998) and Bicentennial Man (1999). He is perhaps best known for producing (and directing the first two) Harry Potter films, and as producer won a BAFTA Children's Award for Best Feature Film for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Columbus is married to actress Monica Devereux, who has been in a number of his films. They have four children.

Filmography (director):

Ripley's Believe It or Not!(2011)
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief(2010)
I Love You, Beth Cooper (2009)
3-D Rocks (2005)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets(2002)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone(2001)
Bicentennial Man(1999)
Nine Months (1995)
Mrs. Doubtfire(1993)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York(1992)
Only the Lonely (1991)
Home Alone(1990)
Heartbreak Hotel (1988)
Adventures in Babysitting(1987)
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