Sample some of the best American films over the past thirty-five years and there’s a good chance Mike Medavoy played a role in the success of many of them. From agent to studio chief to producer, he has been involved with over 300 feature films, of which 16 have been nominated and 7 have won Best Picture Oscars®, as well as numerous international film festival awards.
As chairman and co-founder of Phoenix Pictures, Medavoy has brought to the screen The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Mirror Has Two Faces, U-Turn, Apt Pupil, The Thin Red Line, The 6th Day, Basic, Holes, All the King’s Men, Zodiac, Pathfinder and Miss Potter, among others. These films have received numerous nominations, won two Golden Bears at the Berlin Film Festival, five Golden Satellite Awards, a cinematography award for John Toll from the ASC and nominations from the DGA and WGA for Terrence Malick. The Thin Red Line and The People vs. Larry Flint each received Oscar® nominations. Recently, Phoenix Pictures has released Shutter Island, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley and Max Von Sydow, Shanghai, starring John Cusack and Gong Li, and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis in 2010. Black Swan won numerous awards including the Oscar® and Golden Globe for Best Actress (Natalie Portman) as well as the Independent Film Spirit Award for Best Feature, Best Director (Darren Arnofosky), Best Female Lead (Natalie Portman) and Best Cinematography (Matthew Libatique).
Medavoy has received numerous awards including the 1992 Motion Picture Pioneer of the Year Award, the 1997 Career Achievement Award from UCLA, and the Lifetime Achievement Award (1998) at the Cannes Film Festival. He was awarded the 1999 UCLA Neil H. Jacoby Award, which honors individuals who have made exceptional contributions to humanity. Medavoy also received the inaugural Fred Zinnemann Award (2001), presented by the Anti-Defamation League, the Israel Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2002), as well as a Career Achievement Award from the University of Central Florida (2002). In 2004, he received the Louis B. Mayer Motion Picture Business Leader of the Year Award from Florida Atlantic University and in 2005, he was the recipient of UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and Producers Guild of America Vision Award. Also in 2005, Medavoy was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame and received a star on Hollywood Boulevard. In 2007, he received the Stella Adler Actors Studio Marlon Brando Award and in 2008, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jerusalem Film Foundation. In 2009, he was given the Honorary Doctorate at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and was named Chevalier of the French Government’s Legion of Honor. In 2011, Medavoy received the Raimondo Rezzonico Prize at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland
Medavoy has made a mark not only within his industry, but in his community as well. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles by Governor Jerry Brown and was appointed by Mayor Richard Riordan as Commissioner on the Los Angeles Board of Parks and Recreations. He is a member of the board of directors of the University of Tel Aviv. He also serves on the board of trustees of the UCLA Foundation and is a member of the Chancellor’s Associates, the Dean’s Advisory Board at the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television and the Alumni Association’s Student Relations Committee. He is also the co-chairman of the Burkle Center for UCLA’s Center for International Relations and served as a member of the board of advisors at the Kennedy School at Harvard University for five years. In 2002, Governor Gray Davis appointed Mike to the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center’s Executive Advisory Board; he is also a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the Homeland Security Advisory Council. Medavoy is also on the Baryshnikov Arts Center Advisory Committee in New York, and serves on the advisory board of the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy.
Mike Medavoy had been closely involved in Marlon Brando’s life for many years. As a good friend, Mike and Marlon spent time together until his death in 2004 . Mike was named as one of the co-executors of Marlon’s estate. Today, Mike continues to honor this commitment at the request of Marlon and also presides over the Brando label www.marlonbrando.com.
Mike was born in Shanghai, China in 1941 of Russian-Jewish parents and lived in Chile from 1947 to 1957. He graduated from UCLA in 1963. He is married to Irena Medavoy, a founder of Team Safe-T and a charity executive and fundraiser for the Industry Task Force. Mike Medavoy has two sons, Brian and Nicholas, and resides in Beverly Hills, California.