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Taylor Hackford

Taylor Hackford began his entertainment career at KCET, the Los Angeles public television affiliate, where he pioneered the presentation of uninterrupted Rock 'n' Roll performances on American television. In addition to creating several award-winning documentaries for the station's cultural department, he also served as an investigative reporter in their news division where he received an Associated Press Award and two Emmy awards for his journalism.

In 1979, Hackford won an Academy Award in the category of Best Live-Action Short Film for his first dramatic effort, Teenage Father. He proceeded to make his feature directorial debut in 1980 with The Idolmaker, starring Ray Sharkey and Peter Gallagher.

An Officer and a Gentleman, starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger, was Taylor's second film which became a commercial and critical hit in 1982. It received five Academy Award nominations and brought home Oscars for Louis Gossett Jr. as Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Song (Up Where We Belong). In addition, Hackford was nominated by the Directors Guild of America for his outstanding achievement.

On all his subsequent films, Taylor has functioned as both director and producer. His credits include Against All Odds, starring Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward and James Woods; White Nights, starring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gregory Hines, Helen Mirren and Isabella Rossellini; Everybody's All-American, starring Dennis Quaid, Jessica Lange and John Goodman; and the acclaimed documentary Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll, featuring Chuck Berry and Keith Richards.

Hackford formed New Visions Pictures to produce modestly budgeted quality movies with other directors. Some of his producing credits include the much lauded The Long Walk Home, starring Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg; Queens Logic, featuring an ensemble cast which included John Malkovich, Kevin Bacon, Joe Mantegna, Jamie Lee Curtis and Linda Fiorentino; Mortal Thoughts, starring Demi Moore, Glenn Headley and Bruce Willis; and Defenseless, starring Barbara Hershey, Mary Beth Hurt and Sam Shepard.

Taylor, who has been fascinated by all things Latino since his stint as a Peace Corp volunteer in South America (1968-69), developed and produced La Bamba, the Ritchie Valens biography, which launched Lou Diamond Phillips' career. Written and directed by Luis Valdez, La Bamba became a sleeper success, breaking new ground for Hispanic artists in Hollywood.

He returned to directing after five years to helm the epic drama of East L.A., Blood In, Blood Out (Bound by Honor). This film earned Hackford a trophy as Best Director at the 1993 Tokyo Film Festival. His next film, Dolores Claiborne, released by Castle Rock Entertainment and Columbia Pictures, starred Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Dolores was selected for screening at the 1995 Venice, Deauville and Tokyo Film Festivals.

In 1996 Hackford discovered some unreleased documentary footage of the legendary Muhammed Ali/George Foreman title fight in Zaire, Africa. Originally shot in 1974 by filmmaker Leon Gast, Taylor restructured this footage into a feature documentary. He conducted present-day interviews with Spike Lee, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton and others, then edited them into the historical footage to reveal the hype, politics and personalities that made up this larger-than-life event. The completed film, When We Were Kings, was a hit at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival and won the 1997 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

In 1998 Hackford directed the critically acclaimed, world-wide hit The Devil's Advocate (1999), a contemporary morality tale set in the world of New York's powerful legal profession starring Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. Then in 2001 he delivered the riveting Proof of Life, with Meg Ryan, Russell Crowe and David Morse, based on William Prochnau's Vanity Fair article Adventures in the Ransom Trade, about the real-life kidnapping of American businessman Thomas Hargrove.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.

Taylor Hackford Facts

Birth Name Taylor Edwin Hackford
BirthdayDecember 31, 1945 (77)
BirthplaceSanta Barbara, California, USA

Selected Filmography

An Officer and a Gentleman
Blood In, Blood Out
Proof of Life
The Devil's Advocate
Dolores Claiborne
The Comedian
White Nights
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