Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Born In Baltimore

Barry Levinson was born in Baltimore on April 6, 1942. He graduated from Forest Park Senior High and attended American University in Washington DC.

He started out as a writer on such shows as The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, The Tim Conway Show and The Carol Burnett Show.

He moved on to screenwriting movies in the seventies with Silent Movie (1976), High Anxiety (1977), And Justice For All (1979). He made a cameo appearance in High Anxiety as a bellboy. And Justice For All was one of Al Pacino's first movies and was set in Baltimore.

He is well known for a series of films set in Baltimore beginning with Diner(1982), Tim Men (1987) starring Danny DiVito and Richard Dreyfuss (I got to see some of the filming of this one), Avalon (1990), and Liberty Heights(1999). He wrote and directed these films and also produced the last two. His biggest hit was undoubtedly Rain Man, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director. He also directed The Natural and Good Morning Vietnam. He produced a film in 1996, Sleepers, which was a haunting film.

As if he hasn't done enough in film, he has also produced some pretty fantastic TV. Homicide: Life on the Street, a gritty crime drama based in Baltimore. This series ran from 1993 - 1999 and was filmed differently from any TV show I had ever seen. It was critically acclaimed, it's not just me. Also, HBO's series, OZ, which I have never seen.

I can see my life in his films and I can see my city there too.


NJG said...

Have seen very little of Levinson's work, although many people have highly recommended him. Didn't know 'till now that he's responsible for HBO's OZ, one of the finest things to ever grace the little screen...you've finally sold me and have inspired me (as usual) to seek out more of his works. Thanks.

charmcitygirl said...

I think viewing Diner should be a residency requirement for Baltimore City.

Hotwire said...

i am a transplanted marylander and therefore love Homocide and will no longer watch crime shows since that was the best one ever and it got the axe for no good reason other than 95% of America was to stupid to 'get it'