Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein Biography

Harvey Weinstein, (born March 19, 1952) is an American film producer and former film studio director. He and his brother, Bob Weinstein, co-founded Miramax, which produced several popular independent films including Pulp Fiction, Clerks, The Crying Game, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Harvey won an Academy Award for producing Shakespeare in Love, and garnered seven Tony Awards for producing a variety of winning plays and musicals, including The Producers, Billy Elliot the Musical, and August: Osage County.

Weinstein and his brother Bob were co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company from 2005 to 2017. In October 2017, the company's board of directors fired Weinstein following numerous allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against him.

Education and early career

Weinstein was born in the Flushing section of the New York City borough of Queens, to a Jewish family. His parents were Max Weinstein, a diamond cutter, and Miriam (ne Postel). He grew up with his younger brother, Bob Weinstein, in a housing co-op named Electchester in New York City. He graduated from John Bowne High School and the University at Buffalo, and received an honorary SUNY Doctorate of Humane Letters in a ceremony at Buffalo in 2000. Weinstein, his brother Bob, and Corky Burger independently produced rock concerts as Harvey & Corky Productions in Buffalo through most of the 1970s.

Film career

1970s: Early work and creation of Miramax

Both Weinstein brothers had grown up with a passion for movies, and they nurtured a desire to enter the film industry. In the late 1970s, using profits from their concert promotion business, the brothers created a small independent film distribution company named Miramax, named after their parents, Miriam and Max. The company's first releases were primarily music-oriented concert films such as Paul McCartney's Rockshow.

1980s: Success with arthouse and independent films

In the early 1980s, Miramax acquired the rights to two British films of benefit shows filmed for the human rights organization Amnesty International. Working closely with Martin Lewis, the producer of the original films, the Weinstein brothers edited the two films into one movie tailored for the American market. The resulting film was released as The Secret Policeman's Other Ball in May 1982, and it became Miramax's first hit. The movie raised considerable sums for Amnesty International and was credited by Amnesty with having helped to raise its profile in the United States.The Weinsteins slowly built upon this success throughout the 1980s with arthouse films that achieved critical attention and modest commercial success. Harvey Weinstein and Miramax gained wider attention in 1988 with the release of Errol Morris' documentary The Thin Blue Line, which detailed the struggle of Randall Adams, a wrongfully convicted inmate sentenced to death row. The publicity that soon surrounded the case resulted in Adams' release and nationwide publicity for Miramax. In 1989, their successful launch release of Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies, and Videotape propelled Miramax to become the most successful independent studio in America.

Also in 1989, Miramax released two arthouse films, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, and director Pedro Almodvar's film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, both of which the MPAA rating board gave an X-rating, effectively stopping nationwide release for these films. Weinstein sued the MPAA over the rating system. His lawsuit was later thrown out, but the MPAA introduced the NC-17 rating two months later.

1990s-2000s: Further success, Disney ownership deal

Miramax continued to grow its library of films and directors until, in 1993, after the success of The Crying Game, Disney offered the Weinsteins $80 million for ownership of Miramax. The brothers agreed to the deal that would cement their Hollywood clout and ensure that they would remain at the head of their company, and the next year Miramax released their first blockbuster, Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, and distributed the popular independent film Clerks.

Miramax won its first Academy Award for Best Picture in 1997 with the victory of The English Patient. (Pulp Fiction was nominated in 1995 but lost to Forrest Gump). This started a string of critical successes that included Good Will Hunting (1997) and Shakespeare in Love (1998), both of which won several awards, including numerous Academy Awards.

2005-2017: The Weinstein Company

On March 29, 2005, it was announced that the Weinstein brothers would leave Miramax on September 30 to form their own production company, named The Weinstein Company, with several other media executives, directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and Colin Vaines, who had successfully run the production department at Miramax for ten years. In February 2011, filmmaker Michael Moore took legal action against the Weinstein brothers, claiming he was owed $2.7 million in profits for his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), which he said had been denied to him by "Hollywood accounting tricks". In February 2012, Moore dropped the lawsuit for an undisclosed settlement.

On October 8, 2017, The Weinstein Company's board fired Harvey Weinstein, following numerous allegations of his sexual misconduct.

On October 12, 2017 Hachette Book Group dropped the imprint for Weinstein Books.

Managerial style and controversies

While lauded for opening up the independent film market and making it financially viable, Weinstein has been criticized by some for the techniques he has allegedly applied in his business dealings. Peter Biskind's book Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film details criticism of Miramax's release history and editing of Asian films, such as Shaolin Soccer, Hero, and Princess Mononoke. There is a rumor that when Harvey Weinstein was charged with handling the U.S. release of Princess Mononoke, director Hayao Miyazaki sent him a samurai sword in the mail. Attached to the blade was a stark message: "No cuts." Miyazaki commented on the incident: "Actually, my producer did that. Although I did go to New York to meet this man, this Harvey Weinstein, and I was bombarded with this aggressive attack, all these demands for cuts. I defeated him." Weinstein has always insisted that such editing was done in the interest of creating the most financially viable film. "I'm not cutting for fun," Harvey Weinstein said in an interview. "I'm cutting for the shit to work. All my life I served one master: the film. I love movies."

Another example cited by Biskind was Phillip Noyce's The Quiet American (2002), whose release Weinstein delayed following the September 11 attacks owing to audience reaction in test screenings to the film's critical tone towards America's past foreign policy. After being told the film would go straight to video, Noyce planned to screen the film in Toronto International Film Festival in order to mobilize critics to pressure Miramax to release it theatrically. Weinstein decided to screen the film at the Festival only after he was lobbied by star Michael Caine, who threatened to boycott publicity for another film he had made for Miramax. The Quiet American received mostly positive reviews at the festival, and Miramax eventually released the film theatrically, but it was alleged that Miramax did not make a major effort to promote the film for Academy Award consideration, though Caine was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Weinstein has also cultivated a reputation for ruthlessness and fits of anger. According to Biskind, Weinstein once put a New York Observer reporter in a headlock while throwing him out of a party. On another occasion, Weinstein excoriated director Julie Taymor and her husband during a disagreement over a test screening of her movie Frida.

In a 2004 newspaper article, in New York magazine, Weinstein appeared somewhat repentant for his often aggressive discussions with directors and producers. However, a Newsweek story on October 13, 2008, criticized Weinstein, who was accused of "hassling Sydney Pollack on his deathbed" about the release of the film The Reader. After Weinstein offered $1 million to charity if the accusation could be proven, journalist Nikki Finke published an email sent by Scott Rudin on August 22 asserting that Weinstein "harassed" Anthony Minghella's widow and a bedridden Pollack until Pollack's family asked him to stop.

In September 2009, Weinstein publicly voiced opposition to efforts to extradite Roman Polanski from Switzerland to the U.S. regarding a 1977 charge that he had drugged and raped a 13-year-old, to which Polanski had pleaded guilty before fleeing the country. Weinstein, whose company had distributed a film about the Polanski case, questioned whether Polanski committed any crime, prompting Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to insist that Polanski's guilty plea indicated that his action was a crime, and that several other serious charges were pending.


Weinstein has been active on issues such as poverty, AIDS, juvenile diabetes, and multiple sclerosis research. He serves on the Board of the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York City-based non-profit that targets poverty, and co-chaired one of its annual benefits. He is critical of the lack of gun control laws and universal health care in the United States.

Weinstein is a longtime supporter and contributor to the Democratic Party including the campaigns of President Barack Obama and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry. He supported Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, and in 2012, he hosted an election fundraiser for President Obama at his home in Westport, Connecticut.

Sexual assault allegations

See Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations for more information In October 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that more than a dozen women accused Weinstein of sexually harassing, assaulting, or raping them. Many other women in the film industry subsequently reported similar experiences with Weinstein, who denied any non-consensual sex. As a result of these accusations, Weinstein was fired from his production company, his wife Georgina Chapman left him, and leading figures in politics whom he had supported denounced him.

Personal life

Weinstein has been married twice. In 1987, he married his assistant Eve Chilton. They divorced in 2004. They had three children: Remy (previously Lily) (born 1995), Emma (born 1998), and Ruth (born 2002). In 2007, he married English fashion designer and actress Georgina Chapman. They have a daughter, India Pearl (born 2010), and a son, Dashiell (born 2013).


In 2004, Weinstein was appointed an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the British film industry. The award is "honorary" because Weinstein is not a citizen of a Commonwealth country.

On 2 March 2012, Weinstein was made a Chevalier (knight) of the Legion of Honour by the French Consulate in New York City, in recognition of Miramax's efforts to increase the presence and popularity of foreign films in the United States.

He also received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Selected filmography


Year Film Notes
1981 The Burning
1982 The Secret Policeman's Other Ball
1985 Deep End Documentary
1986 Playing for Keeps also writer
1988 Light Years a.k.a. Gandahar (English Version)
1998 Shakespeare in Love Academy Award for Best Picture
BAFTA Award for Best Film
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Satellite Award for Best Film - Musical or Comedy
Nominated - Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
2000 Malna Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language
2002 Gangs of New York Nominated - Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated - Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
2003 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World co-producer (uncredited)
2009 Nine Satellite Award for Best Film - Musical or Comedy
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
2011 My Week with Marilyn Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best British Film
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
2013 One Chance


Year Film Notes
1986 Playing for Keeps also producer
1987 The Gnomes' Great Adventure

Executive producer

Year Film Notes
1989 Scandal co-executive producer
The Lemon Sisters co-executive producer
1990 Hardware
Strike It Rich
Crossing the Line co-executive producer
1991 Madonna: Truth or Dare
1992 Reservoir Dogs
1993 True Romance
The Hour of the Pig
1994 Pulp Fiction co-executive producer
Il Postino: The Postman
1995 Kids
The Crossing Guard
1996 The English Patient
Flirting with Disaster
Jane Eyre
The Crow: City of Angels
1997 Jackie Brown
Good Will Hunting
Princess Mononoke English-language version
Scream 2
Air Bud
1998 Phantoms
Wide Awake
1999 The Cider House Rules
2000 Down to You
Scream 3
Love's Labour's Lost
Scary Movie
The Yards
Dracula 2000
2001 The Others
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Spy Kids
Texas Rangers
Scary Movie 2
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
2001-2005 Project Greenlight Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program (2002, 2004, 2005)
2002 Chicago
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Waking Up in Reno
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
2003 Cold Mountain
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
My Boss's Daughter
Scary Movie 3
Bad Santa co-executive producer
The Human Stain
2003-2004 Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
2004 Jersey Girl
Ella Enchanted which is now "Disney" in 2021
Fahrenheit 9/11
The Aviator
Finding Neverland
Shall We Dance?
2004-present Project Runway Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program (2005-2015)
2005 Sin City
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D
The Brothers Grimm
2006 Clerks II
Scary Movie 4
Breaking and Entering
Miss Potter
School for Scoundrels
2007 Grindhouse
The Mist
Who's Your Caddy?
The Nanny Diaries
2008 Superhero Movie
The Reader
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Soul Men
2009 Inglourious Basterds
Halloween II
2010 The King's Speech
The Fighter
2011 The Artist
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
Scream 4
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World
Apollo 18
I Don't Know How She Does It
2012 W.E.
Silver Linings Playbook
Lee Daniels' The Butler
Django Unchained
2013 Escape from Planet Earth
August: Osage County
Fruitvale Station
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
2014 Vampire Academy
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Big Eyes
Marco Polo
2015 Woman in Gold
The Hateful Eight
2016 Sing Street
War & Peace
The Founder
2017 Wind River
2018 Waco

Honorary awards

Year Association Award Notes
1996 Britannia Awards Britannia Award for Excellence in Film shared with Bob Weinstein
1997 Gotham Awards Producers Award shared with Bob Weinstein and James Schamus
1998 GLAAD Media Award GLAAD Excellence in Media Award shared with Bob Weinstein
2001 British Independent Film Awards Special Jury Prize shared with Bob Weinstein
2002 British Film Institute British Film Institute Fellowship
2003 Saturn Award Special Award shared with Bob Weinstein
2003 DVD Exclusive Awards Producer Award shared with Bob Weinstein
2013 Producers Guild of America Award Milestone Award shared with Bob Weinstein

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Harvey_Weinstein" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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