Michael Cimino (pronounced [ˈtʃamɪnəʊ], "chi-MĒ-nō", born February 3, 1939) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is best known for writing and directing The Deer Hunter, which won 5 Academy Awards including Best Director, and the controversial followup, Heaven's Gate. His films are characterized by their striking visual style and controversial subject matter.
Michael Cimino was born in New York City, New York on February 3, 1939. He grew up in Old Westbury, Long Island. Cimino was regarded as a prodigy in school and rebelled against his parents by consorting with lowlifes, getting into fights and coming home drunk.
His father was a music publisher. "When my father found out I went into the movie business, he didn't talk to me for a year," Cimino said. His mother once told him after The Deer Hunter that she knew he was famous because his name was in the New York Times crossword puzzle.
Cimino graduated from Westbury High School on Long Island in 1956. After graduating, he entered Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. At Michigan State, Cimino majored in graphic arts, was a member of a weight-lifting club and a group that welcomed incoming...