Date of Birth: December 31, 1944
Native to the warm climate of Santa Barbara, Califonia, Hackford graduated from USC, with a major in international relations. He followed his studies by serving two years with the Peace Corps in Bolivia, during which time his career goals changed from law and politics to communications and film.
During the '70s, Hackford spent most of his time at the Los Angeles public television station KCET, a place that became a kind of self-made "film school" for him. Beginning in the mailroom, he went on to a position in the station's cultural department. There he became one of the founding fathers in the presentation of rock and roll performances on television, such as Leon Russell, Cat Stevens, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Butterfield, John Prine and Sonny Rollins.
This would lead him to hard news, covering hundreds of stories as an investigative reporter and, in turn, winning several awards in journalism as well as two Emmys.
As his evolution in television reached its peak, Hackford began to work in full-length documentaries that presented personal portraits of individuals who had made unique contributions to society. One film, Bukowski, which was a look at poet Charles Bukowski, won the Silver Reel at the San Francisco Film Festival, and was voted the best cultural film on public television.
Hackford left KCET in 1978 with plans to work in feature films. "When I went into features," explains Hackford, "I tried to capture that level of reality I had in documentaries, with actors."
Applying this technique to his first film, Teenage Father (1978), which he wrote, produced and directed, Hackford was awarded with an Academy Award for Best Dramatic Short Film. The film attracted producers who would work with his next project The Idolmaker (1980).
But it would be his next project that brought him international acclaim. The film, An Officer and A Gentleman (1982), starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger, won over both audiences and critics, garnering five Oscar nominations, winning two.
For the next two decades, Hackford would serve as both producer and director to films like Against All Odds (1984), Everybody's All American (1988), Dolores Claiborne (1995), starring Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and The Devil's Advocate (1997), starring Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino.
At the start of the new millennium he helmed the much talked about Proof of Life (2000), starring Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe. Unfortunately, and perhaps due to the highly public affair involving the two stars, the movie bombed at the box office, barely earning back half of its investment.
Ray (2004) was much more successful, achieving critical acclaim, grossing $73 million at the domestic box office and garnering Hackford an Academy Award nomination for Best Achievement in Directing. After a six-year break, Hackford returned to work with Love Ranch (2010), starring his third wife, Helen Mirren. He also directed the action-filled movie Parker (2013), starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez.
Hackford has two children with ABC executive and fellow Oscar winner Lynn Littman.
Love Ranch (2010)
Proof of Life (2000)
The Devil's Advocate (1997)
Dolores Claiborne (1995)
Blood In, Blood Out (1993)
Everybody's All-American (1988)
White Nights (1985)
Against All Odds (1984)
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
The Idolmaker (1980)