Mike Medavoy is an American film producer and executive, co-founder of Orion Pictures, former chairman of TriStar Pictures, former head of production for United Artists and current chairman and CEO of Phoenix Pictures.
He began his career at Universal Studios in 1964. He rose from the mail room to become a casting director. In 1965, he became an agent at General Artist Corporation and then vice president at Creative Management Agency. Joining International Famous Agency as vice president in charge of the motion picture department in 1971, he worked with such prestigious clients as Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Terrence Malick, Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Gene Wilder, Jeanne Moreau, and Jean-Louis Trintignant.
United Artists brought him in as senior vice president of production in 1974 where he was part of the team responsible for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Rocky, and Annie Hall, which won Best Picture Oscars® in 1975, 1976, and 1977, respectively. Other notable films included Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, Network and Coming Home. In 1978, Medavoy co-founded Orion Pictures where, during his tenure, Platoon, Amadeus, Robocop, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Terminator, Dances with Wolves and Silence of the Lambs were released.
In 1990, after twelve successful years at Orion, Medavoy became chairman of TriStar Pictures, where he oversaw such critically-acclaimed box office hits as Philadelphia, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sleepless in Seattle, Cliffhanger, The Fisher King, Legends of the Fall and Steven Spielberg's Hook. Of all the films, Mr. Medavoy has been involved with, sixteen have been nominated for Best Picture Oscars and seven have won Best Picture Academy Awards and numerous festival awards.
As chairman and co-founder of Phoenix Pictures, Medavoy has brought to the screen The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Mirror Has Two Faces, U-Turn, Apt Pupil, The Thin Red Line, The 6th Day, Basic, Holes, All the King's Men, Zodiac, Pathfinder and Miss Potter, among others. These films have received numerous nominations, won two Golden Bears at the Berlin Film Festival, five Golden Satellite Awards, a cinematography award for John Toll from the ASC and nominations from the DGA and WGA for Terrence Malick. The Thin Red Line and The People vs. Larry Flint each received Oscar® nominations.
Mr. Medavoy has received numerous awards including the 1992 Motion Picture Pioneer of the Year Award, the 1997 Career Achievement Award from UCLA, and the Lifetime Achievement Award (1998) at the Cannes Film Festival. He was awarded the 1999 UCLA Neil H. Jacoby Award, which honors individuals who have made exceptional contributions to humanity. Medavoy also received the inaugural Fred Zinnemann Award (2001), presented by the Anti-Defamation League, the Israel Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award (2002), as well as a Career Achievement Award from the University of Central Florida (2002). In 2004, he received the Louis B. Mayer Motion Picture Business Leader of the Year Award from Florida Atlantic University and in 2005, he was the recipient of UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and Producers Guild of America Vision Award. Also in 2005, Medavoy was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame and received a star on Hollywood Boulevard. In 2007, he received the Stella Adler Actors Studio Marlon Brando Award and in 2008, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jerusalem Film Foundation. In 2009, he was given the Honorary Doctorate at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and was named Chevalier of the French Government's Legion of Honor.