Sir Samuel Alexander Mendes CBE (born 1 August 1965) is a British film and stage director, producer, and screenwriter. In 2000, Mendes was appointed a CBE for his services to drama, and he was knighted in the 2020 New Years Honours List. That same year, he was awarded the Shakespeare Prize by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation in Hamburg, Germany. In 2005, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Directors Guild of Great Britain. In 2008, The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 15 in their list of the "100 most powerful people in British culture".
Born in Berkshire to a Trinidadian Catholic father and an English Jewish mother, Mendes grew up in North London. He read English at Peterhouse at Cambridge University, and began directing plays there before joining Donmar Warehouse, which became a centre of 1990s London theatre culture. In theatre, he is known for his dark re-inventions of the stage musicals Cabaret (1993), Oliver! (1994), Company (1995), and Gypsy (2003).
He directed an original West End stage musical for the first time with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2013). For his work on the London stage, Mendes has received three Laurence Olivier Awards for Company, Twelfth Night and The Ferryman and for his work on Broadway he has earned two Tony Awards for Best Direction of a Play for his work on The Ferryman in 2019, and The Lehman Trilogy in 2022.
In film, he made his directorial debut with the drama American Beauty (1999), which earned him the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Director. He has since directed the crime film Road to Perdition (2002), Jarhead (2005), the drama Revolutionary Road (2008), and the James Bond films Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015). For the war film 1917 (2019), he received the BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Director, as well as his second Academy Award nominations for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
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