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Schrader, Paul (1946-) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Schrader, Paul (1946-)


Historical Note:

Screenwriter and film director, Paul Schrader was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on July 22, 1946. Schrader grew up with strict, conservative Calvinist parents. They did not allow young Schrader to partake in movies and other "worldly amusements". It wasn't until the age of 17 that Schrader saw his first motion picture. Schrader enrolled at Calvin College earning his B.A. with a minor in theology. Schrader initially had plans to pursue a career ministry, however he was introduced to a film critic named Pauline Kael who persuaded him to pursue film instead. Schrader went on to attend UCLA's film school.  After graduating with his Master's degree in film studies, Schrader became a film critic for Los Angeles Free Press and Cinema magazine.

In 1974 Schrader co-wrote with his brother the Japanese crime film, The Yakuza. The film was a commercial flop. However, his script for Taxi Driver was picked up by director Martin Scorsese and was nominated for Best Picture at the 1976 Academy Awards. In 1982 Schrader married actress Mary Beth Hurt. Schrader went on to be the writer and/or direct other films such as Blue Collar (1978), American Gigolo (1980), Lighter Sleeper (1992) and biopic Auto Focus (2002). Schrader has been in the film industry for the past 42 years and involved in over 25 films to date.






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