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REAL NAME: Sir Samuel Alexander Mendes CBE
NICKNAME: Sam Mendes
DOB: 1 August 1965 (age 57 years)
BIRTHPLACE: Reading, United Kingdom
BIRTH SIGN: Leo
PROFESSION: Director, Producer, and Screenwriter
FATHER: Jameson Peter Mendes
MOTHER: Valerie Helene Mendes
SPOUSE / WIFE: Alison Balsom (m. 2017), Kate Winslet (m. 2003–2011)
CHILDREN: Joe Mendes
INSTAGRAM HANDLE: NA
TWITTER HANDLE: NA
FACEBOOK HANDLE: NA
Oscar-winning filmmaker and Tony Award-winning stage director Sam Mendes is a household name in the entertainment industry. He was born in England to a family of accomplished academics and authors in the 1960s. While he was a student at the University of Cambridge, his early interest in the theater blossomed into a genuine skill, and he went on to direct a production of “Cyrano de Bergerac” that received widespread critical praise.
On August 1, 1965, Samuel Alexander Mendes entered this world in Reading, England. Jameson Peter Mendes’s father was a devout Roman Catholic of Portuguese ancestry who settled in Trinidad. He was a professor of literature at Reading University when Sam was born. Sam’s mother, Valerie Helene née Barnett, is a children’s book author and publisher. She is a Jew of English ancestry. His grandpa on his father’s side, Alfred Hubert Mendes, was also a noted writer. Sam was born into a family of academics and authors, so he wasn’t surprised when he showed an early passion for the written and visual arts.
Mendes was the sole child of his parents. His parents split up when he was five, and he and his mom eventually settled in London. The connection between Sam and his father remained cordial, and the latter often visited the family and took Sam out to the theater. Mendes started his studies in London at Primrose Hill Primary. He was interested in literature and the performing arts from a young age.
He went to Oxford with his mother when he was 12 years old. He attended Magdalen College School, where he did pretty well academically, even as he devoted much time to other pursuits, such as reading, cricket, and film. In 1983 and 1984, he represented his high school on the cricket team. After finishing high school, he attended Peterhouse, a college affiliated with the University of Cambridge, to study English literature. He maintained his academic success at the university, where he also played cricket for the varsity team and became more active in the theater program.
As a student, Mendes joined the Marlow Society, Cambridge’s theater group. Together with the author Tim Firth, he also started a theater company. He directed numerous plays at this time, notably Tom Hollander’s highly lauded turn as Cyrano de Bergerac. Sam Mendes wed Kate Winslet in Anguilla back in May of 2003. They started dating back in 2001. In the same year, they had a son Joe Alfie Winslet Mendes. Winslet’s first husband, the director Jim Threapleton, gave Mendes a stepdaughter.
In 2011, Mendes and Winslet filed for divorce. In 2017, he secretly tied the knot in Oxfordshire with trumpeter and classical musician Alison Balsom. Balsom’s first husband, English conductor Edward Gardner, fathered Charlie, Mendes’ stepson. Sam Mendes earned a degree in English literature from Cambridge in 1987, where he received the highest possible grade. By that time, he had already made up his mind to be a professional actor. He was quickly hired for an entry-level post at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester, West Sussex, a Chichester Festival Theatre component.
A three-act English drama by George Bernard Shaw, “Major Barbara,” was one of the many performances he assisted with at Minerva Theatre in 1988. In 1989, he began to be given directing jobs. When the original director of the comedy ‘London Assurance’ backed out, he had the chance to take over. The film starred Dion Boucicault. As a result of the success of ‘London Assurance,’ Mendes was offered other positions.
After relocating to London at age 24, Mendes directed Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” on the West End stage in 1989. He won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Newcomer for his play, which starred Judi Dench. He began working with the Royal Shakespeare Company as a director in 1990. Troilus and Cressida, Richard III, and The Tempest are among his most significant works from this time, and they all star a young actor named Simon Russell Beale.
Mendes directed “Othello” at the Royal National Theatre with Simon Russell Beale as Iago. His other notable works at the Royal National Theatre include Edward Bond’s “The Sea,” Jim Cartwright’s “The Rise and Fall of Little Voice,” and Harold Pinter’s “The Birthday Party.” In early 1998, he was contacted by American film production company DreamWorks Pictures, headed by Steven Spielberg, to helm their upcoming project, American Beauty. In June, Mendes was officially named the director and offered a salary of $150,000, the bare minimum required by the Directors Guild of America.
On December 14, 1998, manufacturing began, and 50 days later, it was finished. The premiere was held at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California, on September 8, 1999. It was a smashing success, and it helped Mendes win numerous prestigious honors, including an Academy Award. The play “Wise Guys in New York” was also directed by him that year.
While filming ‘Road to Perdition in 2002, Mendes made many trips to England to helm stagings of Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ and Chekhov’s ‘Uncle Vanya’ at the Donmar Warehouse. He then resigned from his position at Donmar. Many of his latter works were made possible by the production company he cofounded in 2003 with Pippa Harris and Caro Newling, Neal Street Productions. The London-based studio has produced six movies, seven stage plays, and five TV series.
In 2003, Mendes directed a new production of “Gypsy” on Broadway. The Vertical Hour is a play by David Hare about the American invasion of Iraq, directed by Sam Mendes in 2006. After 23 previews and 117 performances, it ended on Broadway on March 11, 2007. Between 2006 and 2007, he also produced four films. He launched his transatlantic Bridge Project to bring together British and American performers that same year. He oversaw productions of “The Winter’s Tale” and “The Cherry Orchard” as part of this initiative.
Sam Mendes produced seven films between 2010 and 2012 in addition to his work on various stage shows. The most notable was “Out of the Ashes,” a documentary on the national cricket squad of Afghanistan. In 2012, with the release of Skyfall, the franchise’s 23rd installment, he made his directorial comeback. ‘Skyfall’ began shooting in November 2011, and it premiered on October 26, 2012, in the United Kingdom, and on November 9, 2012, in the United States. It earned $1.109 billion worldwide against an estimated budget of $200 million, making it a critical financial success.
In 2012, Mendes oversaw Kevin Spacey in the central role of Richard III at the Brooklyn Academy of Music under his direction. His next show, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” premiered on June 25, 2013, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The show ended on January 7, 2017, after 1293 performances. In 2014, he directed the play “King Lear” at the Royal National Theatre and produced the television series “Penny Dreadful.” Meanwhile, he was requested to helm Spectre, another James Bond picture, in 2013. Although he initially declined the offer, by May 2013, he had begun talks with the producers.
Production on ‘Spectre’ started in Austria in the winter of 2014–2015. After wrapping up filming in Mexico in July 2015, they continued shooting in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Morocco. The production cost was over $300 million, making it one of the most costly movies ever.
His last feature-directing effort was 2015’s “Spectre,” which premiered in the UK in October and the US in November. His recent play, “Ferryman,” had its world debut at London’s Royal Court Theatre on April 24, 2017. A World Military I-themed military picture named 1917 is apparently in production with him at the helm.
|Phone Number||(323) 461-0100|
|House address (residence address)||Reading, United Kingdom|
(Public Relations Agency)
12001 Ventura Place
Studio City, CA 91604
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Sam Mendes Phone Number: (323) 461-0100
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Sam Mendes Fan Mail Address:
12001 Ventura Place
Studio City, CA 91604
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