November 14, 1950
Teaneck, New Jersey, United States
Teri Garr, Pamela Birnbaum
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Producer and film industry executive Roger Birnbaum split his career between high-level positions at major studios like 20th Century Fox and MGM and running his own production companies, including Caravan Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, and Roger Birnbaum Productions. In these roles, he oversaw the production of such blockbusters as "Home Alone" (1990), "My Cousin Vinny" (1992), "Grosse Pointe Blank" (1997), "The Sixth Sense" (1999), "Seabiscuit" (2003) and "The Hobbit" (2012), proving adept at both box office hits and prestigious films over the course of a career that spanned well over three decades.Born in Teaneck, New Jersey, Birnbaum began his professional career in the music business, rising to A&R executive positions at both A&M Records and Arista Records before joining the Robert Stigwood Organization as Special Executive to the Office of the Chairman. During his tenure, RSO produced the film hits "Saturday Night Fever" (1977) and "Grease" (1978), as well as the stage production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's "Evita" (1978 in London; 1979 in the US) and hit albums for artists like Eric Clapton and the Bee Gees. Moving into the film industry, Birnbaum joined Henry Winkler's Monument Pictures, producing Rob Reiner's teen romantic comedy "The Sure Thing" (1985) and Barry Levinson's "Young Sherlock Holmes" (1985). During brief stints as president of The Guber/Peters Company and United Artists, he oversaw critically-acclaimed hits including Levinson's Oscar-winning "Rain Man" (1988), the Dian Fossey biopic "Gorillas in the Mist" (1988) and Tim Burton's massively successful "Batman" (1989). Joining Fox in 1988, Birnbaum established an amicable working relationship with chairman Joe Roth which led to a 1991 promotion increasing his interaction with marketing, video and international affairs. The studio's hits during his reign included "Home Alone" (1990), "Edward Scissorhands" (1990), and "Mrs. Doubtfire" (1993). In 1993, Roth left Fox to form Caravan Pictures, an independent producing company headquartered at Disney. Birnbaum was a salaried producer until Roth became chairman of Disney in 1993, when Birnbaum became Caravan's head. Caravan's first release was the indifferently-received remake of "The Three Musketeers" (1993), but the company quickly notched hits like the Sandra Bullock romantic comedy "While You Were Sleeping" (1995), the family drama "Angels in the Outfield" (1994) and the John Cusack vehicle "Grosse Point Blank" (1997). During this era, Birnbaum also ran his own company, Roger Birnbaum Productions, which produced films including the action comedy franchise "Rush Hour" (1998) for New Line Cinema. In 1998, Birnbaum formed Spyglass Entertainment alongside Gary Barber, with whom he shared the titles of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. After an early success with the thriller "The Sixth Sense" (1999), Spyglass Entertainment became a prolific production company through the first decade of the 21st century, releasing several films for year ranging from box office moneymakers like "Shanghai Noon" (2000) and "Bruce Almighty" (2003) to Oscar contenders such as "Seabiscuit" (2003) and "Memoirs of a Geisha" (2005). In 2010, Birnbaum and Barber became the heads of a revived Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer following the studio's bankruptcy. In that position, Birnbaum oversaw the James Bond film "Skyfall" (2012), the comedy reboot "21 Jump Street" (2012) and Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (2012), as well as the popular TV series "Fargo" (FX 2014- ) and "Vikings" (History 2013- ). In October 2012, Birnbaum left his shared chairman role at MGM in order to return to the hands-on work of producing, reviving Roger Birnbaum Productions in collaboration with the studio. His first film under this banner was a reboot of the 1987 action thriller "RoboCop" (2014).