Medavoy began his career at Universal Studios in 1964, where he rose from the mailroom to become a casting director. He became an agent in 1965, working at General Artist Corporation and later as vice president at Creative Management Agency. Joining International Famous Agency as vice president in charge of the motion picture department in 1971, he worked with such prestigious clients as Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Terrence Malick, Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, and Gene Wilder among others. United Artists brought him in as senior vice president of production in 1974, where he was part of the team responsible for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Rocky, and Annie Hall, which won the Best Picture Oscars over three successive years.
Medavoy co-founded Orion Pictures in 1978. During his tenure, Platoon, Amadeus, Robocop, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Terminator, Dances with Wolves, and Silence of the Lambs were released. In 1990, after twelve fruitful years at Orion, Medavoy became Chairman of TriStar Pictures. Under his aegis, critically acclaimed box office successes, Philadelphia, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (with Carolco), Sleepless in Seattle, Cliffhanger (with Carolco), The Fisher King, Legends of the Fall, and Steven Spielberg's Hook debuted. Of the films that Medavoy has been involved with, sixteen have been nominated for Best Picture Oscars and seven have won.
He received the inaugural Fred Zinnemann Award presented by the Anti-Defamation League in 2001, and the Israel Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.
Today, as chairman and co-founder of Phoenix Pictures, Medavoy has brought to the screen films including The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Mirror Has Two Faces, U-Turn, Apt Pupil, The Thin Red Line, Dick, Urban Legend (I&II), and The Sixth Day. The Thin Red Line was nominated for seven Academy Awards,
received five nominations from the Chicago Film Critics, won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and five Golden Satellite Awards, a cinematography award for John Toll from the ASC, and nominations from the DGA and WGA for Terrence Malick. Phoenix Pictures' most recent releases are Basic starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson and directed by John McTiernan, and Holes starring John Voight and Sigourney Weaver, directed by Andrew Davis.
In 2002, Simon & Schuster published Medavoy's best-selling book, "You're Only As Good As Your Next One: 100 Great Films, 100 Good Films and 100 For Which I Should Be Shot."
Mike Medavoy Facts
|January 21, 1941 (83)
|Shanghai, People's Rep. of China