More Gary Ross Bios & Profiles
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Biography #2 (for Seabiscuit)Two-time Academy Award nominee Gary Ross is a filmmaker who delves into America's favorite pastimes and lauded institutions to create some of the most beloved films in recent history. A true Renaissance man, Ross' career includes directing and producing, in addition to his first calling as a gifted screenwriter.
Ross exploded on to the film scene with his first produced screenplay, Big. The 1988 blockbuster comedy, starring Tom Hanks as a child whose wish to be a grown-up is granted, grossed more than $100 million in domestic box office receipts and garnered two Oscar nominations (for Gary Ross' & Anne Spielberg's original screenplay and Tom Hanks' performance). Ross also co-produced the motion picture, which was directed by Penny Marshall.
Ross drew on his knowledge and love of the American political process for his screenplay of the Capra-esque comedy hit Dave. Starring Kevin Kline as an ordinary guy recruited to stand in for the President of the United States, the film also starred Sigourney Weaver and was directed by Ivan Reitman. Ross received his second Academy Award nomination for his original screenplay for Dave. He also won the Writer's Guild Paul
Selvin Award for a screenplay that "embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties which are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere."
In 1998, Ross decided it was time to direct one of his scripts. The result was the Oscar-nominated Pleasantville. A social comedy with equal parts heart and mind, Pleasantville tells the story of two teens (played by Tobey Maquire and Reese Witherspoon) who are inexplicably transported to the black-and-white world of a fictional 1950s television town. Their presence there ripples through the fairytale community, whose residents are consequently granted the chance to experience the wonders, comedies and dangers of real life. Later that year, Ross' production company, Larger than Life, found a new home at Universal.
Throughout Ross' career, he has remained active in local and national politics. During his college years, Ross spent his summers working on Capitol Hill as an intern. In addition to exploring the fictional political world in Dave, he keeps his feet firmly planted in real politics, having written numerous speeches for such political luminaries as President Clinton. He has also attended the Democratic National Convention as a delegate.
Ross also remains active in civic and charitable work. During his tenure as President of the Los Angeles Library, Ross established mentoring programs for inner city youth and expanded teenage and youth-at-risk services throughout the Los Angeles library system. For his service, he was awarded the 1999 Light of Learning Award by the Los Angeles Public Library. In 2000, Ross gave the keynote address for the American Library Association in Chicago. He also received the ACLU's Bill of Rights Award for 2000.
Bio courtesy Universal Pictures for "Seabiscuit" (27-Jul-2003)