Robert Zemeckis was born in 1952 in Chicaco, Illinois. He first attended
Northern Illinois University and gained early experience in film as a film
cutter for NBC News in Chicago during a summer break. He also edited commercials
in his home state. He then went to USC School of Cinema-Television where
he paired up with Bob Gale, with whom he would collaborate on many screenplays,
including Steven Spielberg's 1941.
These early experiences led to his first directing job, the comedy/adventure Romancing the Stone. He was granted even greater commercial success with the time-travel comedy Back to the Future. His next film was an absolute breakthrough in film technology, a salute to classic cartoons and film noir which employed the mix of live-action and animation, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Many say that this film paved the way for the animation boom which followed, including the re-opening of Disney's animation department with The Little Mermaid.
After Roger Rabbit, Zemeckis went on to direct two long awaited sequels to Back to the Future. They were produced together, in order to save money, and were released within six months of each other. He followed these sequels with a black comedy, starring A-list stars Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep, and Isabella Rosselini in Death Becomes Her. Although the film was not a great success, it did require Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic to develop new techniques in computer generated special effects.
Robert Zemeckis' greatest accomplishment in film came with his 1994 masterpiece, Forrest Gump. This film beautifully showcases Zemeckis' skills in directing, special effects, and masterful storytelling. Forrest Gump went on to garner 5 Academy Awards out of 9 nominations, including Picture, Actor (Tom Hanks), Screenplay (Eric Roth), Editing (Arthur Schmidt), and Director (presented to Zemeckis by Steven Spielberg).
Zemeckis took a short break after Forrest Gump in order to spend time with his family. He is now working on Contact, a science fiction film based on Carl Sagan's novel starring Jodie Foster. He continues to co-executive produce the television series, Tales From the Crypt, and films such as The Frighteners and those in Tales from the Crypt franchise. The project following Contact, titled Bad Trout, will reteam him with Who Framed Roger Rabbit scribes Peter Seamen and Jeffrey Price.