Born: June 20, 1968
Date of Birth: June 20, 1968
Born the third of ten children in Texas, Robert Rodriguez showed an interest in animation and filmmaking at a young age. He went on to study at the University of Texas, where he met Elizabeth Avellan, who was studying film production, art and architecture, and the two were married in 1990. Together, they formed their own production company called Los Hooligans (named after an award-winning comic strip drawn by Rodriguez that had run daily for three years in the Daily Texan newspaper) and produced an eight-minute short called Bedhead (1991). Robert co-wrote the script with his brother David and directed, while David also starred in the title role. Sisters Rebecca, Christina and Elizabeth played starring roles, while his wife Elizabeth worked as an animator on the film. Meanwhile, Robert also did his own editing, cinematography and co-wrote the music.
His next project was a full length film called El Mariachi (1992). Rodriguez made most of the film's $7,000 budget by spending a month in a hospital being subjected to experimental drug studies. He not only wrote and directed, but produced, edited, and provided special effects for the movie, while his wife was an associate producer. Presented at several International Film Festivals, El Mariachi won multiple awards, including the Audience award at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and the Audience Award at the Deauville Film Festival. Rodriguez was signed by the powerful talent agency ICM and was given a writing/directing deal from Columbia Pictures. Columbia also bought the distribution rights to the film, making El Mariachi the lowest budget movie ever released by a major studio and the first American film released in Spanish.
Rodriguez brought the character of El Mariachi back in Desperado (1995), this time starring Antonio Banderas. He next tried his hand at horror with From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), written by Quentin Tarantino and featuring an all-star cast that included Harvey Keitel, George Clooney and Salma Hayek. The film won a Best Horror Film award from The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films as well as making a respectable showing at the box office.
His biggest hit, however, came with the release of Spy Kids (2001). The film not only won Rodriguez an ALMA award for Outstanding Director in a Motion Picture, but it made over $100 million at the domestic box office. Two successful sequels followed, completing the trilogy of the young brother and sister team who discover their parents are spies and then join in on the family business. Rodriguez next returned to his El Mariachi trilogy, bringing Antonio Banderas back again for Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), also starring Johnny Depp and Willem Dafoe.