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Sam Mendes’s contributions to Hollywood


Learn about the extraordinary career of an Academy Award-winning director.

Born on August 1, 1965, Sam Mendes did not have his first director job until 1999. That meant that he directed his first motion picture at the age of 34. Even with that late start on his entertainment career, Mendes managed to direct one of the most celebrated films of all time. That film was none other than American Beauty (1999). Starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, this film is almost like a modern version of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman with some clever references to Vladimir Nabakov’s Lolita. In fact, Kevin Spacey won “Best Actor” for playing Lester Burnham, and that character’s name is an anagram for “Humbert learns,” which references the main male character from Nabakov’s celebrated (but also controversial) novel.

After winning both the Golden Globe and the Oscar for directing that particular “Best Picture” winner, Mendes continued to serve as a producer for a wide variety of films. He directed and produced the film adaptation of Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road in 2008. He was actually married to Kate Winslet at that time, and Winslet received acclaim for both this film and The Reader. After their divorce, Mendes still went on to direct the two popular James Bond films, which were Skyfall and Spectre. Coincidentally, both films received the Academy Award for “Best Original Song.”


It has also just been announced that Sam Mendes would direct The Voyeur’s Motel. Sam Mendes might have started his career relatively late, but he is still continuing to leave his mark on the entertainment world.

Alex Phuong