Francis Ford Coppola Director - The Godfather trilogy
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Updated: 8/27/10

Name: Francis Ford Coppola

Born: April 7, 1939, Detroit, Michigan

Claim To Fame: This legendary director is famous for directing the Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, among many others!

Family Life: He has been married to his wife, Eleanor, since 1963. Their oldest son, Gian-Carlo Coppola, died in a speedboat accident in 1986. Their surviving son, Roman Coppola, is a filmmaker and music video director, and daughter Sofia Coppola, is an Academy Award-winning writer and nominated director.

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Info: Coppola was born into a creative family - his father was a composer and his mother was an actress. With a degree in drama and a graduate degree in filmmaking under his belt, Coppola began working alongside filmmaker Roger Corman as a soundman, dialogue director, and associate producer. It wasn't long before he directed his first film, Dementia 13 (1963).

Soon after, he wrote an adaptation of This Property is Condemned, by Tennessee Williams (with Fred Coe and Edith Sommer), and screenplays for Is Paris Burning?, and Patton, the film for which he won a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award. In 1969, he teamed up with George Lucas to establish an independent film production company known as American Zoetrope. Together, they produced and directed the film THX 1138 (1971), and the Academy Award nominated American Graffiti (1973).

On his own, Coppola directed The Godfather (1972), which became one of the highest-grossing movies in history, and earned him an Oscar for Best Screenplay. The film also won an Academy Award for Best Picture. He followed this great success with another Oscar nominated film, The Conversation (1974), and also that year The Godfather: Part II, which won six Academy Awards.

Coppola's next film was the Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now (1979), another acclaimed piece that won a Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and two Academy Awards. He then executive produced the hit The Black Stallion (1979), and teamed up with his friend George Lucas to executive produce Kagemusha, and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. Other films he worked on as executive producer include The Escape Artist (1982), Hammett (1982) The Black Stallion Returns (1983), Barfly (1987), Wind (1992), and The Secret Garden (1993).

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Trivia: Owns the Turtle Inn in Placencia, Belize.

Co-owned the "Rubicon" restaurant in San Francisco along with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro for 14 years. It closed in 2008.

Has given political contributions to several candidates of the Democratic Party, including Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi for the U.S. House of Representatives and Barbara Boxer and Alan Cranston for the U.S. Senate.

Earned an M.F.A. in film directing from the UCLA Film School.

Caught polio when he was a child.

Serves as the Honorary Ambassador of the Central American nation of Belize in San Francisco, California.

His middle name was given to him to honor Henry Ford.

Began his winery enterprise by buying portion of historic Inglenook estate in 1975.

Made a commercial for Suntory whiskey with legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa in the 1970s.

Was voted the 21st Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

Directed 12 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances.

Is among an elite group of seven directors who have won Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay (Original/Adapted) for the same film.

He, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg presented Martin Scorsese with his first ever Oscar for Best Director for The Departed (2006).

Brother of August Coppola.

Was named after his grandfather Francesco Pennino.

Briefly attended the New York Military Academy where Troy Donahue was his classmate.

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Where Are They Now: Most recently, Coppola directed the film, Tetro, which was released in select cinemas in June 2009. He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he owns an Italian restaurant named Cafe Zoetrope that serves wine from his personal vineyard and bottling company. He also spends considerable time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he is establishing a subsidiary of his production company.

He is also the owner of a company, Francis Ford Coppola Presents, which owns a winery in Geyserville, Sonoma County, California, as well as several cafes and resorts. The company also produces a line of pastas and pasta sauces. Coppola will be presented with a lifetime achievement Oscar at this November's Academy Awards.

Write To Francis Ford Coppola:
Francis Ford Coppola
916 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA 94133


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