Malibu Complete MALIBU'S WEALTHY: STEVEN SPIELBERG

Malibu's Wealthy: Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg. Photo: Courtesy CNN.

Malibu's Wealthy: Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg has amassed a fortune as one of Hollywood's most recognized and esteemed directors. In 2005, Forbes estimated his net worth as $2.7 billion.

Spielberg grew up in Arizona and had an interest in film making from childhood. He studied film at California State University, Long Beach in the late 1960s but did not graduate. He managed to find work at Universal and directed his first movie, Duel, in 1970, a CBS network Saturday Night Movie shown in 1971. His first feature film, The Sugarland Express (1974), received good reviews but delivered nothing at the box office. It was his third film, Jaws (1975), that was the blockbuster that launched Steven Spielberg's career as Hollywood's most spectacular prodigy director. He produced or directed one amazing film after another, building his reputation and fortune with revered productions including Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Jurassic Park (1993), Schindler's List (1993), Men in Black (1997), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and American Beauty (1999). Recent films include Catch Me If You Can (2002), Minority Report (2002), the remake of War of the Worlds (2005), and Munich (2005).

In 1984, Spielberg formed Amblin Entertainment, his independent production company, named for Amblin' a 26-minute comedy he made in 1968. He served as producer or executive producer on a long list of successful Amblin films, including Gremlins (1984) , The Goonies (1985), Back to the Future (1985) (and two sequels), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), An American Tail (1986) , The Land Before Time (1988), The Flintstones (1994), Casper (1995), Twister (1996), and The Mask of Zorro (1998). In addition to features, Amblin Entertainment produced the hit TV series ER with Warner Bros. and, in 2002, Spielberg was Executive Producer of the dramatic 20-hour Taken for DreamWorks TV and the Sci-Fi Channel.

In 1994 Spielberg was one of the founders of DreamWorks SKG, with Malibu residents David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Spielberg invested $33 million for 22% of DreamWorks, sold to Viacom in late 2005 for a reported $1.6 billion. DreamWorks' films will go to Viacom's studio Paramount Pictures. DreamWorks Animation, a separate company, continues to make animated films under Katzenberg.

Spielberg was married to actress Amy Irving from 1985-1989, and has a child with her. He and his wife Kate Capshaw, married in 1991, and their five children, have a home on Broad Beach in Malibu. He devotes time and resources to philanthropic organizations including the Starbright Foundation, which improves the lives of seriously ill children, and several organizations that preserve the documentation of the Nazi Holocaust. After Schindler's List he established and donated the film's profits to the Righteous Persons Foundation. He also founded Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which has recorded more than 50,000 Holocaust survivor testimonies. Spielberg was Executive Producer of The Last Days, the Shoah Foundation's third documentary, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Spielberg Kidnapping Attempt

In 1997 an obsessed man named Jonathan Norman was arrested for trespassing and felony stalking of Steven Spielberg and his family. Police later found pictures of Spielberg and his family, duct tape, curtain rods, handcuffs and a utility knife in Norman's possession. Prosecutors said Norman broke into the Spielberg home at least four times and that his goal was to kidnap the family, then tie up Kate Capshaw and make her watch him rape her husband. This sick plot was foiled by the arrest and later conviction of the stalker. Spielberg appeared in Santa Monica court in June of 1998 to testify against Norman. He revealed the fear that gripped the family and their certainty that Norman meant to harm them. Norman was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. The case qualified under California's three-strikes law since Norman had two prior felony convictions.

Losing Money in Malibu Real Estate

In August of 1998 Spielberg sold his Broad Beach home and later bought another. The first beachfront house had been bought for $6 million in 1992, but was sold at a loss for $4.5 million to Academy Award-winning special effects and make-up designer Stanley Winston, and his wife, Karen. Winston was the creative spark behind the creatures and effects in Jurassic Park (1993) and sequels, the Terminator (1984) series, Aliens (1986) and many other films. He often worked with Spielberg on his productions.

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