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Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer Barry Levinson has crafted an enviable reputation as a filmmaker who blends literate and intelligent visions into films. He was awarded the 1988 Best Director Oscar for the multiple Academy Award-winning “Rain Man,” starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. In 1991 “Bugsy,” directed and produced by Levinson, was nominated for ten Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. As a screenwriter, Levinson has received three Oscar nominations for “And Justice for All” (1979), “Diner” (1982) and “Avalon” (1990). Other iconic films include “The Natural” (1982), “Good Morning Vietnam” (1987), “Sleepers” (1996), “Bugsy” (1991) and “Wag the Dog” (1997).
Born and raised in Baltimore, Levinson has used his hometown as the setting for four widely praised features—“Diner,” the semi-autobiographical comedy/drama that marked his directorial debut; “Tin Men” starring Danny DeVito and Richard Dreyfuss as warring aluminum-siding salesmen; “Avalon,” in which his native city takes center stage through the recollections of an immigrant family; and “Liberty Heights,” a drama that captures the spirit of Baltimore circa 1954.
With his film career well under way, Levinson returned to Baltimore to film the television series “Homicide: Life on the Street.” His work on this critically acclaimed NBC drama earned him an Emmy for Best Individual Director of a Drama Series. The series received three Peabody Awards, two Writers Guild Awards and an Excellence in Quality Television Founders Award for the 1994 and 1995 seasons. Among other accolades, Levinson and his partner Tom Fontana also received the 1999 Humanitas Award for the “Homicide: Life on the Street” episode titled “Shades of Gray.”
In February 1999, Levinson was honored with a Creative Achievement Award by the 13th Annual American Comedy Awards. Later that year, American University conferred upon Levinson the Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa, for his distinguished work in the field of communications and his defining impact on the motion picture and television industry. Levinson was also honored for his commitment to the craft of filmmaking, his dedication to telling insightful stories, his exquisite sensitivity to the details of life as we live it and his gifts and accomplishments as a director
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