Harvey Weinstein

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Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein 2010 Time 100 Shankbone.jpg
Weinstein at the 2010 Time 100 Gala, May 4
Born(1952-03-19) March 19, 1952 (age 61)
Flushing, New York, US
OccupationFilm producer
Co-founder of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company
Political party
Spouse(s)Eve Chilton (1987–2004; 3 children)
Georgina Chapman (2007–present; 2 children)
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Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein 2010 Time 100 Shankbone.jpg
Weinstein at the 2010 Time 100 Gala, May 4
Born(1952-03-19) March 19, 1952 (age 61)
Flushing, New York, US
OccupationFilm producer
Co-founder of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company
Political party
Spouse(s)Eve Chilton (1987–2004; 3 children)
Georgina Chapman (2007–present; 2 children)

Harvey Weinstein, CBE (born March 19, 1952) is an American film producer and film studio executive. He is best known as co-founder of Miramax Films.[1] He and his brother Bob have been co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company, their film production company, since 2005. He 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.[2]

In a survey analyzing the speeches of Academy Award Winners over a period of 20 years, it was determined that 7 Oscar Winners thanked God in their acceptance speeches, while 30 Oscar Winners thanked Harvey Weinstein.[3]

Education and early career[edit]

Weinstein was born in Flushing, New York.[4] He was raised in a Jewish family,[5] the son of Max Weinstein, a diamond cutter, and Miriam (Postal).[6] 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 then the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.[7][8]

Weinstein, his brother Bob, and Corky Burger, independently produced rock concerts as Harvey & Corky Productions in Buffalo through most of the 1970s. 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 called 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. In the early 1980s Miramax acquired the rights to two British films of benefit shows filmed for 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 US.[7][9]

Further development of Miramax[edit]

Weinstein at Cannes, 2002.

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's 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 the release of Adams 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.[10]

Also in 1989, Miramax released two art-house films, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and director Pedro Almodóvar'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 their rating system. Although his lawsuit was later thrown out, the MPAA agreed to introduce the new NC-17 rating following this episode.

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.[11] Agreeing to the deal that would cement their Hollywood clout and ensure that they would remain at the head of their company, Miramax followed the next year with their first blockbuster, Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and distributed the popular independent film Clerks.

Miramax won its first Best Picture Academy Award in 1996 with the victory of The English Patient (Pulp Fiction was nominated in 1994 but lost to Forrest Gump). This started a string of critical successes that included Shakespeare in Love and Good Will Hunting.

The Weinstein Company[edit]

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[12] who had successfully run the production department at Miramax for ten years and moved with the brothers to head development in the Weinstein company.

The new studio immediately garnered Academy Award nominations for Transamerica and Mrs. Henderson Presents, and box office success through Hoodwinked! and Scary Movie 4.

The Weinstein Co. acquired U.S. rights to the film "The Oath of Tobruk,” a documentary about the 2011 Libyan revolution, in 2012 Cannes Film Festival.[13]

Praise and criticism[edit]

In 2004 Weinstein was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the British film industry.[14]

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,[7] details criticism of Miramax's release history and editing of Asian films, such as Shaolin Soccer, Hero and Princess Mononoke. When Weinstein was charged with handling the US release of Princess Mononoke, he received a samurai sword in the mail with an attached note that read, "No cuts."[15] 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."[9][16]

Another example cited by Biskind was Phillip Noyce's The Quiet American, whose release Weinstein delayed following the September 11 attacks, due 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 film 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.[7]

Weinstein's efforts to campaign for Oscars for his films during Oscar season led to a ban on such campaigns by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[17]

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.[9]

In a 2004 piece in New York magazine, Weinstein appeared somewhat repentant for his often aggressive discussions with directors and producers.[18] However, an October 13, 2008 Newsweek story 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 August 22 email by Scott Rudin asserting that Weinstein "harassed" Anthony Minghella's widow and a bedridden Pollack until Pollack's family asked him to stop.[19][20]

In September 2009, Weinstein publicly voiced opposition to efforts to extradite Roman Polanski from Switzerland to the U.S. regarding 1977 charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old, to which Polanski had pled guilty before fleeing the country.[21] Weinstein, whose company had distributed a film about the Polanski case, questioned whether Polanski committed any crime,[22] prompting Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to insist that Polanski's guilty plea indeed qualified his action as a crime, and that several other more serious charges were still pending.[23]

In March 2012 Weinstein was made a Chevalier (knight) of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres 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.[24]

In April 2012, Time magazine included Weinstein in their annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.[25]

In 2013, New York Post film critic Kyle Smith accused Harvey Weinstein of making numerous anti-Catholic films, including Priest (1994), The Butcher Boy (1997), The Magdalene Sisters (2002), and Philomena (2013).[26]


Weinstein is also active on issues such as poverty, AIDS, juvenile diabetes, and multiple sclerosis research. He serves on the Board of Robin Hood, a New York City-based non-profit organization in fighting poverty, and has co-chaired one of their annual benefits.[27]

Weinstein is a supporter of the American Democratic Party. He received press coverage for his support of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign,[28] and in 2012 he hosted an election fundraiser for President Obama at his Westport, Connecticut home.[29] In 2013, he expressed support of President Barack Obama amid criticism for the launch of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Weinstein also expressed a favorable opinion of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and criticized the status of gun control laws and universal health care in the United States.[30]

Legal problems[edit]

In February 2009, former Sam & Dave singer Sam Moore filed suit against Harvey and Bob Weinstein over the alleged use of Sam & Dave's career as a model for Soul Men, a Weinstein Co. comedy starring Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson.[31]

In February 2011, filmmaker Michael Moore took legal action against the Weinstein brothers, claiming he was owed millions in profits for his 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.[32] By February 2012, Moore settled with the Weinstein brothers, and the lawsuit was dropped. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.[33]

Depictions in media[edit]

Harvey Weingard, a character portrayed by Maury Chaykin on the HBO TV series Entourage, is based on Weinstein. The character is portrayed as an intimidating and aggressive producer. Weinstein himself has reportedly responded positively to the character.[34] The character of Malcolm Tucker from the BBC series The Thick of It is not based on Alastair Campbell as many have suggested, but on Hollywood agents and producers, notably Harvey Weinstein.[35]

Personal life[edit]

Weinstein has been married twice:

On August 20, 2012, Vivek Shah was arrested for the attempted extortion of Weinstein, Chris Cline, and three other unnamed individuals.[43] Shah demanded millions of dollars be wired to an offshore bank account or he would murder the family members of each recipient of his extortion letters.[44] A seven-count felony indictment against Shah was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles during the last week in September 2012.[45]

Selected filmography[edit]

Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.


1981The Burning
1982The Secret Policeman's Other BallDocumentary
1985Deep EndDocumentary
1986Playing for KeepsAlso Writer
1988Light Years a.k.a. Gandahar (English Version)
1998Shakespeare in LoveAcademy Award for Best Picture
BAFTA Award for Best Film
Satellite Award for Best Film
Nominated - Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
2002Gangs of New YorkNominated - Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated - Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
2000MalènaNominated - BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language
2011My Week with MarilynNominated - Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film
2013One Chance (film)


1986Playing for KeepsAlso Producer
1987The Gnomes' Great Adventure

Executive producer[edit]

1989ScandalCo-Executive Producer
The Lemon SistersCo-Executive Producer
Strike it Rich
Crossing the LineCo-executive Producer
1991Madonna: Truth or Dare
1992Reservoir Dogs
1993True Romance
The Hour of the Pig
1994Pulp FictionCo-Executive Producer
Il Postino
The Crossing Guard
1996The English PatientAcademy Award Winner for Best Picture
Flirting with Disaster
Jane Eyre
1997Jackie Brown
Good Will Hunting
1999The Cider House Rules
Scary Movie
Chocolat (2000 film)
2001The Others
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Iris (film)
2001, 2003, 2005Project GreenlightNominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program (2001, 2003, 2005)
2002ChicagoAcademy Award Winner for Best Picture
2003Cold Mountain
2003/2004Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
2004The Aviator
Finding Neverland
2004 - PresentProject RunwayNominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Nominated - PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television (2007)
Nominated - PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Competition Television (2011)
2005Sin City
2006Clerks II
The Mist
2008Superhero Movie
The Reader
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
2009Inglourious Basterds
2010The King's SpeechAcademy Award Winner for Best Picture
The Fighter
2011The Artist (film)Academy Award Winner for Best Picture
Silver Linings Playbook
Django Unchained
2013Escape from Planet Earth
August: Osage County
Fruitvale Station
2015War and Peace

Special awards[edit]

1996Britannia AwardsBritannia Award for Excellence in FilmShared with Bob Weinstein
1997Gotham AwardsProducers AwardShared with Bob Weinstein and James Schamus
1998GLAAD Media AwardGLAAD Excellence in Media AwardShared with Bob Weinstein
2001British Independent Film AwardsSpecial Jury PrizeShared with Bob Weinstein
2002British Film InstituteBritish Film Institute Fellowship
2003Saturn AwardSpecial AwardShared with Bob Weinstein
2003DVD Exclusive AwardsProducer AwardShared with Bob Weinstein
2013Producers Guild of America AwardMilestone AwardShared with Bob Weinstein


  1. ^ William M. Kunz (2007). Culture Conglomerates: Consolidation in the Motion Picture And Television Industries. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7425-4066-8. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ Barbara Klinger (March 13, 2006). Beyond the Multiplex: Cinema, New Technologies, and the Home. University of California Press. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-520-24586-0. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Harper's Index, January 2014". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Gardner, Elysa (March 2, 2012). "Quel honneur! France salutes Harvey Weinstein". USA Today.
  5. ^ Renee, Ghert-Zand (March 6, 2012). "Weinstein Awarded French Legion of Honor". The Jewish Daily Forward.
  6. ^ Weinstein, Bob (April 2003). "All Thanks to Max". Vanity Fair.
  7. ^ a b c d Biskind, Peter (2004). Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film. Simon & Schuster. pp. 463–464. ISBN 0-684-86259-X. 
  8. ^ Lurie, Rod. "Harvey Weinstein Gets My Criticism of "The Reader" Wrong" The Wrap, February 21, 2009
  9. ^ a b c Mason, Ian Garrick (October 11, 2004). "When Harvey met Mickey". New Statesman. Retrieved January 11, 2007. 
  10. ^ Greuet, Christophe (2004). Coupez: Ces films que George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Jean Reno, Kim Basinger aimeraient oublier (in French). Carnot. p. 45. ISBN 2-84855-073-2. 
  11. ^ "Miramax offices close, Disney says brand continues". Lowell Sun. Associated Press. January 29, 2010. 
  12. ^ Paskin, Willa (June 16, 2005). "Weinsteins tap Miramax exex.(Bob and Harvey Weinstein appoint Colin Vaines, Tim Clawson and Irwin Reiter)". Daily Variety.
  13. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (May 17, 2012). "Cannes 2012: Weinstein Co. buys Libyan revolution documentary - See more at: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2012/05/libya-revolution-oath-tobruk-bhl-weinstein.html#sthash.QEYkpjQc.dpuf". Los Angeles Times. 
  14. ^ Minns, Adam (April 20, 2004). "Weinstein to be awarded honorary CBE by Queen". Screen Daily.
  15. ^ Brooks, Xan (September 14, 2005). "A god among animators". The Guardian. Retrieved May 23, 2007. 
  16. ^ Dean, Katie. "Studio Warns Kung Fu Site", Wired, December 15, 2003, Page 2
  17. ^ Obst, Lynda. "A Diminished Oscar Season". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  18. ^ Mnookin, Seth. "How Harvey Weinstein Survived His Midlife Crisis (For Now)", New York magazine, October 4, 2004
  19. ^ Newsweek, October 13, 2008, Page 10
  20. ^ Finke, Nikki. "Harvey Weinstein's Offer I Can't Refuse...", Deadline Hollywood, September 29, 2008
  21. ^ Kay, Jeremy. "Thierry Fremaux enlists Harvey Weinstein in Polanski petition", Screen Daily, September 28, 2009
  22. ^ Weinstein, Harvey (October 4, 2009). "Polanski has served his time and must be freed". independent.co.uk accessdate=2009-02-18. 
  23. ^ Leonard, Jack (October 6, 2009). "Top L.A. prosecutor disputes statements from Harvey Weinstein, other Roman Polanski supporters". Los Angeles Times. 
  24. ^ Cieply, Michael (March 2, 2012). "From France Avec L’Amour: Another Honor for Harvey Weinstein". The New York Times.
  25. ^ Depp, Johnny (April 12, 2012). "The 100 Most Influential People in the World". Time Magazine. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  26. ^ Smith, Kyle (7 December 2013). "Harvey Weinstein’s ‘Philomena’ attack ad". New York Post. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  27. ^ "Harvey Weinstein launches Film Financing Circle ", AMEinfo.com, October 6, 2007
  28. ^ Henry, Ed (May 8, 2008). "Sources: Clinton supporter pressures Pelosi". CNN.
  29. ^ Altimari, Daniela (August 5, 2012). "Obama Looks To Connecticut For Campaign Cash". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  30. ^ Johnson, Andrew (November 18, 2013). "Harvey Weinstein: 'Obama’s Not Embarrassing — the Country’s Embarrassing'". National Review.
  31. ^ Wood, E. Thomas (February 18, 2009). "Soul Man' sues filmmakers for depicting him". Nashville Post. Retrieved April 17, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Film-maker Michael Moore sues Weinstein brothers". BBC. February 9, 2011
  33. ^ Belloni, Matthew (February 15, 2012). "Michael Moore, Harvey Weinstein Settle 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Lawsuit". The Hollywood Reporter.
  34. ^ Martindale, Stone (July 13, 2007). "HBO's Entourage: Harvey Weinstein veritas". monstersandcritics.com.
  35. ^ Radio Times. February 4, 2012 p.18
  36. ^ New York Magazine: "How Harvey Weinstein Survived His Midlife Crisis (For Now)" By Seth Mnookin Oct 11, 2004
  37. ^ New York Magazine: "The View From the Top -The race to sell New York’s most expensive apartment—ever—has begun" By Deborah Schoeneman May 21, 2005
  38. ^ Alexander, Hilary (May 14, 2008). "Every wedding dress tells a story". The London Telegraph.
  39. ^ Wren, Jennifer; Baker, K.C. (December 16, 2007). People: "Harvey Weinstein Weds Designer Georgina Chapman".
  40. ^ "Weinstein, Chapman blessed with another girl". New York Post. August 31, 2010
  41. ^ "Harvey Weinstein: Why I’m Happy to Finally Have a Son". People. April 23, 2013. 
  42. ^ "Harvey Weinsein and Georgina Chapman welcome a baby boy". CBSNEWS. April 16, 2013. 
  43. ^ "Man Busted In Harvey Weinstein Extortion Plot". The Smoking Gun. August 22, 2012.
  44. ^ "Man Busted In Harvey Weinstein Extortion Plot". The Smoking Gun. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  45. ^ Schoeneman, Deborah (October 2, 2012). "Actor Indicted in Harvey Weinstein Extortion Plot". The Smoking Gun. 

External links[edit]