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Oliver Stone (1946)

William Oliver Stone

Type :  

  Summary  

William Oliver Stone is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Stone became well known in the late 1980s and the early 1990s for directing a series of films about the Vietnam War, for which he had previously participated as an infantry soldier. His work frequently focuses on contemporary political and cultural issues, often controversially. He has received three Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay for Midnight Express , and Best Director for Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July . The British newspaper The Guardian described Stone as "one of the few committed men of the left working in mainstream American cinema." Stone's films often use many different cameras and film formats, including VHS, 8 mm film, and 70 mm film. He sometimes uses several formats in a single scene, as in JFK and Natural Born Killers .

  Biography  

 early life and career
Stone was born in New York City, the son of Jacqueline (née Goddet) and Louis Stone, a stockbroker. He grew up affluently and lived in townhouses in Manhattan and Stamford, Connecticut. His father was Jewish and his mother was French-born and Catholic. As a religious compromise, Stone was raised in the Episcopal Church, but has since converted to Buddhism. Stone attended Trinity School before his parents sent him away to attend The Hill School, a college-preparatory school in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. His mother was often absent and his father made a big impact on his life; father-son relationships were to feature heavily in Stone's films. His parents divorced when he was 15, due to his father's extramarital affairs with the wives of several family friends. Stone's father was also influential in obtaining jobs for his son, including work on a financial exchange in France, where Stone often spent his summer vacation with his maternal grandparents - a job that proved inspirational to Stone for his movie Wall Street. Stone graduated from The Hill School in 1964.

Stone was then admitted into Yale University, but left after one year. Stone had become inspired by Joseph Conrad's novel Lord Jim as well as by Zorba the Greek and George Harrison's music to teach English at the Free Pacific Institute in South Vietnam. Stone taught in Vietnam for six months after which he worked as a wiper on a United States Merchant Marine ship, travelling to Oregon and Mexico, before returning to Yale, where he dropped out a second time (in part due to working on his 1,400 page autobiographical novel A Child's Night Dream). In September 1967, Stone enlisted in the United States Army, requesting combat duty in Vietnam. He fought with the 25th Infantry Division, then with the First Cavalry Division, earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster before his discharge in 1968 after 15 months. While at Yale, Stone and friend Lloyd Kaufman worked on an early Troma Entertainment comedy, The Battle of Love's Return . Both also acted in the movie, Stone in a cameo role. Stone graduated from film school at New York University in 1971.

 other work
In 1993, Stone produced a miniseries for ABC Television called Wild Palms. In a cameo, Stone appears on a television in the show discussing how the theories in his film JFK had been proven correct . Wild Palms has developed a moderate cult following in the years since it aired, and has recently been released on DVD. That same year, he also spoofed himself in the comedy hit Dave, espousing a conspiracy theory about the President's replacement by a near-identical double. In 1997, Stone published A Child's Night Dream, a largely autobiographical novel first written in 1966-1967. After several unsuccessful attempts to get the work published, he "threw several sections of the manuscript into the East River one cold night, and, as if surgically removing the memory of the book from my mind, volunteered for Vietnam in 1967." Eventually, he dug out the remaining pages, rewrote the manuscript, and published it.

In 2003, Stone made two documentary films: Persona Non Grata, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Comandante, about Cuban President Fidel Castro. In 2004, he made a second documentary on Castro, titled Looking for Fidel. Stone is directing a short film about the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where the games were held. He was recently granted permission by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to make a documentary about him. Stone had been previously refused permission by the Iranian government when the President's media advisor, Mehdi Kalhor, denounced Stone as being part of the "Great Satan" of American culture, despite his opposition to the Bush administration. However, Ahmadinejad approved permission a month later, saying he had "no objections" provided the documentary was based on accurate facts. Stone is due to visit Tehran to negotiate the production of the film with Iranian officials, possibly the president himself.

In 2008, Stone was named the Artistic Director of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Asia in Singapore.

In 2009, Stone completed a documentary about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the rise of progressive, leftist governments in Latin America. Stone, who is a supporter of Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution, hopes the film will get the Western world to rethink the Venezuelan president and socialist policies. Titled South of the Border, Chavez joined Stone for the premiere of the documentary at the Venice Film Festival in September 2009. The documentary features informal interviews by Stone with Chavez and six allied leftist presidents, from Bolivia's Evo Morales to Cuba's Raul Castro. Stone stated that he hopes the film will help people better understand a leader who is wrongly ridiculed "as a strongman, as a buffoon, as a clown." In May 2010, Stone began a Latin American tour to promote the film, with screenings planned in Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina. The documentary was also being released in some cities in the United States and Europe in the summer of 2010.

 personal life
Stone married three times, first to Najwa Sarkis on May 22, 1971. They divorced in 1977. He then married Elizabeth Stone on June 6, 1981. They had two sons, Sean Christopher and Michael Jack . Sean appeared in some of his father's films while a child. Oliver and Elizabeth divorced in 1993. Stone is currently married to Sun-jung Jung, and the couple have a teenage daughter, Tara. According to newsmeat Stone contributed money to Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election.

In 1999, Stone was arrested on alcohol and drug charges and, as part of a plea bargain, agreed to enter a rehabilitation program. On May 27, 2005, Stone was arrested for driving under the influence and possession of drugs. He released the next day on a $15,000 bond. In August 2005, Stone plead no contest and was fined $100.

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  • Pre-production
  • Wild Palms
    Executive producer
    1993

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Oliver Stone", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.