Born: February 06, 1949
Date of Birth: February 6, 1949
Born in Dublin, Irish playwright/director Jim Sheridan developed an early interest for the theater through his stage director father. The younger Sheridan first worked as a director in children's theater, then co-founded Dublin's fringe theater, the Project Arts Center. As artistic director of the company, Sheridan had the chance to write plays and have them produced, as well as getting valuable experience directing plays.
In 1982, Sheridan left Ireland to move to New York City, where he took over as artistic director of the New York Irish Arts Center and enrolled himself in a filmmaking course at New York University. In the late 1980s, Dublin theater producer Noel Pearson approached Sheridan about adapting Christy Brown's autobiographical book, My Left Foot, for film. Sheridan accepted the project and together with screenwriter Shane Connaughton wrote the screenplay for the movie. Sheridan returned to the U.K. to direct the film, and managed to get Daniel Day-Lewis to star as Christy Brown, a man born with cerebral palsy who learned to write and paint with his left foot. My Left Foot (1989) won Academy Awards for Day-Lewis and actress Brenda Fricker as well as nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Writing.
Although Hollywood beckoned, Sheridan decided to stay in the U.K. to direct his next film, The Field (1990), starring Richard Harris. Sheridan adapted his screenplay from a play by John B. Keane. Harris was nominated for an Academy Award for his role, while John Hurt, in a supporting role, was nominated for a BAFTA award. Sheridan's next big hit, In the Name of the Father (1993), again paired him up with Daniel Day-Lewis. Sheridan co-wrote the screenplay based on the autobiographical book by Gerry Conlon (Day-Lewis played Conlon in the film). The movie earned seven Academy AwardÂ® nominations including Best Director and Best Picture, and won several awards at film festivals.
Sheridan next directed Day-Lewis in The Boxer (1997), a film he co-wrote with Terry George, his writing partner from In the Name of the Father. Despite winning awards at several film festivals, the film would turn out to be Sheridan's least successful. For the next few years, he produced other people's films, including Agnes Browne (1999), directed by Anjelica Huston. He then made his directorial comeback with In America (2002), about a young family who moves to New York City after the death of one of their children.
Sheridan's production company is called Hell's Kitchen, after an area in New York between 9th and 57th Street in New York, where the first Irish immigrants settled. He divides his time between Dublin and Los Angeles.