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Martha Coolidge

Martha Coolidge

Martha Coolidge is a renowned director with a passion for telling good stories and a gift for working well with actors, while discovering talents like Nicolas Cage and Val Kilmer along the way.

Coolidge garnered a Directors Guild nomination and an Emmy nomination for her successful direction of the multiple award-win­ning HBO feature Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, with its stunning performance by Halle Berry. Coolidge received a second Directors Guild nomination for her segment of If These Walls Could Talk 2, which dramatized the progression of the acceptance of lesbianism and starred Chloe Seviney and Michelle Williams.

Great actors, complex layering and a careful use of the right music and score have marked Coolidge's films right from the start. Her 1983 hit Valley Girl boasted a hugely popular soundtrack and introduced the untapped talent of Nicolas Cage in his first major film role. Also among Coolidge's credits are the feature films Out to Sea, with an all-star cast including Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau; Three Wishes, with Patrick Swayze and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio; Lost In Yonkers, adapted by Neil Simon from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, starring Mercedes Ruehl and Richard Dreyfuss; Angie, starring Geena Davis and James Gandolfini. She also directed Rambling Rose, which earned Oscar nominations for its stars Laura Dern and Diane Ladd, and won three IFP Independent Spirit Awards for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress. This longtime project of Coolidge and Dern also starred Robert Duvall and Lukas Haas, and was written by Calder Willingham (The Graduate, Patton, Paths of Glory). Coolidge's Crazy In Love, for TNT, starred Holly Hunter and Gena Rowlands; and her comedy Real Genius introduced Val Kilmer and has become another cult classic.

Coolidge's election as the first woman president of the Directors Guild of America in its 66-year history is an acknowledgement of respect by her peers. She is also the recipient of the

DGA's top award, the Robert B. Aldrich Award, as well as Women in Film's Crystal Award.

Coolidge started making films at the Rhode Island School of Design. She subsequent­ly moved to New York where she continued her studies at the New York University Institute of Film and Television graduate school. Among her early credits are several award-winning documen­taries and shorts.

Born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, the daughter of two architects and a relative of. Calvin Coolidge, Coolidge believes in giving back. She is a member of the board of the American Film Institute, a trustee of her alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design, and a member of the Dean's Council for NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

An avid horsewoman and breeder of smooth-gaited Paso Fino horses, Coolidge lives in Los Angeles with her son Preston, named in honor of her idol, director Preston Sturges.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Martha Coolidge Facts

BirthdayAugust 17, 1946 (76)
BirthplaceNew Haven, Connecticut, USA

Selected Filmography

I Heart NY
An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong
Real Genius
Shit Highway
Valley Girl
Out to Sea
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