Mike Leigh is a Actor, Director and Scriptwriter British born on 20 february 1943
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Nationality United-kingdomBirth 20 february 1943
(75 years)Creator of Thin Man FilmsAwards
Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Mike Leigh OBE (born 20 February 1943) is an English writer and director of film and theatre. He studied theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and further at the Camberwell School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design. He began as a theatre director and playwright in the mid-1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s his career moved between theatre work and making films for BBC Television, many of which were characterised by a gritty "kitchen sink realism" style. His well-known films include the comedy-dramas Life is Sweet (1990) and Career Girls (1997), the Gilbert and Sullivan biographical film Topsy-Turvy (1999), and the bleak working-class drama All or Nothing (2002). His most notable works are the black comedy-drama Naked (1993), for which he won the Best Director Award at Cannes, the Oscar-nominated, BAFTA and Palme d'Or-winning drama Secrets & Lies (1996) and the Golden Lion winning working-class drama Vera Drake (2004). Some of his notable stage plays include Smelling A Rat, It's A Great Big Shame, Greek Tragedy, Goose-Pimples, Ecstasy, and Abigail's Party.
Leigh is known for his lengthy rehearsal and improvisation techniques with actors to build characters and narrative for his films. His purpose is to capture reality and present "emotional, subjective, intuitive, instinctive, vulnerable films." His aesthetic has been compared to the sensibility of the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu. His films and stage plays, according to critic Michael Coveney, "comprise a distinctive, homogenous body of work which stands comparison with anyone's in the British theatre and cinema over the same period." Coveney further noted Leigh's role in helping to create stars – Liz Smith in Hard Labour, Alison Steadman in Abigail's Party, Brenda Blethyn in Grown-Ups, Antony Sher in Goose-Pimples, Gary Oldman and Tim Roth in Meantime, Jane Horrocks in Life is Sweet, David Thewlis in Naked – and remarked that the list of actors who have worked with him over the years – including Paul Jesson, Phil Daniels, Lindsay Duncan, Lesley Sharp, Kathy Burke, Stephen Rea, Julie Walters – "comprises an impressive, almost representative, nucleus of outstanding British acting talent." Ian Buruma, writing in the New York Review of Books in January 1994, noted: "It is hard to get on a London bus or listen to the people at the next table in a cafeteria without thinking of Mike Leigh. Like other wholly original artists, he has staked out his own territory. Leigh's London is as distinctive as Fellini's Rome or Ozu's Tokyo."
In September 1973, he married actress Alison Steadman; they have two sons: Toby (born February 1978) and Leo (born August 1981). Steadman appeared in seven of his films and several of his plays, including Wholesome Glory and Abigail's Party. They divorced in 2001. He now lives in Camden. Marion Bailey is his partner.
He is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association. In 2014, Leigh publicly backed "Hacked Off" and its campaign towards UK press self-regulation by "safeguarding the press from political interference while also giving vital protection to the vulnerable."