James Ivory Biography

James Ivory photo

Born: June 07, 1928


Date of Birth: June 7, 1928

Born in Berkeley, California, James Ivory graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television in 1957. His 24-minute documentary The Sword and the Flute (1959) impressed New York's Asia Society so much that they commissioned him to make a documentary about Delhi. Ivory travelled to India and decided to stay after meeting producer Ismail Merchant. In 1961, they formed Merchant-Ivory Productions and began making English-language Indian films in India for international release. Their first was a comedy called The Householder (1963), based on a novel by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. She also wrote the screenplay, then went on to write the screenplays for many of their films.

In the early 1970s, Merchant and Ivory moved to the United States, where Ivory directed Savages (1972), about a tribe of primitive people, filmed in New York. Ivory wrote the screenplay along with Michael O’Donoghue and George Swift Trow, but for his next film, Autobiography of a Princess (1975), he stuck to directing and left the screenwriting to Jhabvala. Raquel Welch starred in the next picture directed by Ivory -- The Wild Party (1977) -- loosely based on the Fatty Arbuckle scandal.

By the late 1970s, the team of Merchant and Ivory began to create period films such as The Europeans (1979), starring Lee Remick, set in Boston in the 1850s. Quartet (1981), set in the 1920s, starred Isabelle Adjani and Maggie Smith. Both films were nominated for the Golden Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival, but it wasn’t until Ivory directed A Room with a View (1986) that he received worldwide acclaim. Starring Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Smith, the film was nominated for eight Oscars®, including Best Director and Best Picture. It was also nominated for 13 BAFTA awards, winning four, including one for Merchant and Ivory for Best Film. Ivory also received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Director. More hits followed, including Howards End (1992) and The Remains of the Day (1993), both starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Both films received numerous nominations and/or awards from the Golden Globes, Academy awards and BAFTA awards. Jefferson in Paris (1995), starring Nick Nolte and Gwyneth Paltrow, didn’t do as well, though it was nominated for a Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, while A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (1998), starring Leelee Sobieski, was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. The Golden Bowl (2000) starring Kate Beckinsale earned Ivory another Golden Palm nomination. In February 2002, Ivory and Merchant were awarded the BAFTA Fellowship for the “visual beauty, mature and intelligent themes, shrewd casting and superb acting” in their films.

Ivory makes his home in Claverack, New York.


The City of Your Final Destination (2007)
The White Countess (2006)
Le Divorce (2003)
The Golden Bowl (2000)
A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (1998)
Surviving Picasso (1996)
Lumière et compagnie (1995)
Jefferson in Paris (1995)
The Remains of the Day (1993)
Howards End (1992)
Mr. & Mrs. Bridge (1990)
Slaves of New York (1989)
Maurice (1987)
A Room with a View (1986)
The Bostonians (1984)
Heat and Dust (1983)
Quartet (1981)
Jane Austen in Manhattan (1980)
The Europeans (1979)
Roseland (1977)
The Wild Party (1975)
Autobiography of a Princess (1975)
Savages (1972)
Bombay Talkie (1970)
The Guru (1969)
Shakespeare-Wallah (1965)
The Delhi Way (1964)
The Householder (1963)

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