PROFILE
Name:
Aaron Sorkin
Birth Date:
June 9, 1961
Birth Place:
New York, New York, USA
Nationality:
American
Famous for:
TV drama The West Wing
BIOGRAPHY
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Aaron Sorkin_090512
The Social Network

Background:

“I became a writer, because I wanted to be Donald Hollinger, because he got a girl like Ann Marie.” Aaron Sorkin

American screenwriter, producer and playwright Aaron Sorkin was launched to prominence with his 1989 stage play “A Few Good Men,” which was adapted into a 1992 critically and commercially successful film of the same name directed by Rob Reiner. Sorkin received a Golden Globe nomination for his screenplay. After earning another Golden Globe nomination and a Writers Guild of America nomination for his third script of “The American President” (1995), which was also helmed by Reiner, the formerly aspiring actor turned his attention to television, and scored further victories with “Sports Night” (ABC, 1998-2000) and most notably, “The West Wing” (NBC, 1999-2006), from which he took home five Emmy Awards, not to mention one additional Emmy for executive producing 2002's “The West Wing Documentary Special.” He returned to the big screen in 2007 with  the film adaptation of “Charlie Wilson's War” (directed by Mike Nichols), which garnered him a Golden Globe nomination for his screenplay, but it was his bravura script on the David Fincher directed drama “The Social Network” (2010) that brought Sorkin both an Oscar and Golden Globe Award. His next screenplay for director Bennett Miller's biographical sports drama film,“Moneyball” (2011), received nominations at the 2012 Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and BAFTA Awards. His new television series “The Newsroom” is scheduled to premiere on HBO June 24, 2012.  

Sorkin has one daughter named Roxy, from his previous marriage to Julia Bingham (together from 1996 to 2005). He was in a relationship with Kristin Chenoweth, who played Annabeth Schott on “The West Wing,” for several years. He also reportedly dated The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, but they were no longer together. In 1989, Sorkin was briefly engaged to Megan Gallagher, who appeared in Sorkin's production of “A Few Good Men.”  

Sorkin is a staunch supporter of the U.S. Democratic party. Between 1999 and 2007, he has made significant political campaign contributions to candidates. In August 2008, he was involved in a Generation Obama event at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills, California.

A cocaine addict for a number of years, Sorkin began taking marijuana and cocaine in 1987, but in 1995, in the urge of then girlfriend and future wife Julia Bingham, he checked into rehab at the Hazelden Institute in Minnesota and was handed the Phoenix Rising Award in 2001 for his personal triumph over substance abuse. Other celebrities who also received the award at the period were Martin Sheen and John Spencer. However, two months after the event on April 15, 2001, Sorkin was arrested after guards at a security checkpoint at the Burbank Airport found hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana, and crack cocaine in his carry-on bag when a metal crack pipe set off the gate’s metal detector. He was ordered to a drug diversion program, and has since is reported to have recovered.


A Christmas Carol

Childhood and Family:

In New York City, New York, Aaron Benjamin Sorkin was born on June 6, 1961, to a Jewish family. He was raised in the affluent suburb of Scarsdale, New York by a copyright lawyer father and a school teacher mother. Both his older sister and brother went on to become lawyers. Aaron became interested in acting at an early age, and was brought to theater by his parents to see shows like “That Championship Season” and “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” before he reached his teen years. He attended Scarsdale High School, where he was appointed the vice president of the drama club and performed in plays like “Once Upon a Mattress.” After graduation, he went to Syracuse University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre in 1983. While in college, he played Young Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” and was the top pyramid acrobat for a performance of “Carnival.”

On April 13, 1996, Aaron was married to Julia Bingham, a vice president of legal and business affairs at Castle Rock Entertainment, whom he met while he was working under contract for the production company in the early 1990s. The couple welcomed a daughter, Roxy Sorkin, on November 17, 2000. Perhaps due to his workaholic habits and drug-taking, Aaron and his wife divorced in 2005.


The West Wing Creator

Career:

After graduating from college, Aaron Sorkin moved to New York City to full fill his ambitions of becoming an actor. Though he had difficulties to find work in NYC, he managed to periodically perform with the children's theater company Traveling Playhouse. During this period, Sorkin took odd jobs to support himself like delivering singing telegrams, driving a limousine, handing out fliers promoting a hunting-and-fishing show and bartending on Broadway at theatres. His luck started to change when he found a typewriter while house sitting at a friend's place. Once he started writing, the alum of Syracuse University knew that he had a passion in writing plays.

Sorkin eventually produced his first play, “Removing Doubt,” which he sent to Arthur Storch, his old theater teacher at Syracuse, who was impressed. In 1984, the play was staged for drama students  at Syracuse University. Four years later, Sorkin made his NYC stage debut with his one-act play comedy, “Hidden in This Picture,” which entered off-off-Broadway at Steve Olsen's West Bank Cafe Downstairs Theatre Bar in 1988. The production attracted the attention of producer  John A. McQuiggan, who ordered Sorkin to develop it into a full-length play called “Making Movies.” It was not long before Sorkin was launched to the New York theatre scene as an emerging playwright.

In 1989, Sorkin wrote a courtroom drama named “A Few Good Men,” telling the story of military lawyers at a court-martial who bring out a high-level conspiracy in the course of defending their clients, United States Marines accused of murder. The play was first produced on Broadway by David Brown, who brought the film rights for his play before it premiered, and opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York on November 15, 1989, with Don Scardino directing and Tom Hulce, Megan Gallagher and Stephen Lang as LTJG Kaffee, LCDR JoAnne Galloway and Col Jessep, respectively. The show was closed after 497 performances.   

In 1990, “Making Movies” made its debut off-Broadway at Promenade Theatre. The production was directed by Don Scardino and produced by John A. McQuiggan. Two years later, the film adaptation of his play “A Few Good Men” was released to theaters on December 11, 1992, with Sorkin earning his first credits as a screenwriter. The film was directed by Rob Reiner and starred Tom Cruise, Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Film Editing and Best Sound, and collected another 9 wins and 14 nominations as well. The film also enjoyed a success at the box office. With a production budget of $40 million, it made $141,340,178 in the US and $95,159,822 in International markets for a total of $236,500,000. For his work on the film, Sorkin received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture and an Edgar Allan Poe nomination for Best Motion Picture.        

In 1993, Sorkin co-scripted (with Scott Frank) the thriller movie “Malice,” which is based on a story by Jonas McCord. Directed and co-produced by Harold Becker and starring Alec Baldwin, Nicole Kidman and Bill Pullman, the film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed over $46 million domestically. He then wrote the screenplay of the romance/comedy film “The American President” (1995), which was directed by Reiner and starred Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. The film, which marked his last produced screenplay for Castle Rock, was critically successful but it only a modest success at the box office. “The American President” was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score, and brought Sorkin a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture and a Writers Guild of America in the category of Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

In 1998, Sorkin branched out into the small screen when he created the comedy/drama “Sports Night,” about a fictional sports news show also called Sports Night. Centering on the friendships, pitfalls, and ethical subjects the creative talent of the program face while attempting to produce a good show under constant network pressure, the show ran on ABC for two seasons from September 1998 until May 2000. Also serving as executive producer and writing episodes, Sorkin picked up a 1999 Humanitas Prize in the category of 30 Minute Category and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series as well as a PGA Award for Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic.

In the following year, Sorkin created, wrote and executive produced  the critically acclaimed political drama series “The West Wing,” starring Rob Lowe, Alan Alda, Stockard Channing and Moira Kelly, among other actors. Premiered on NBC on September 22, 1999, the series earned positive reviews from critics and amassed a number of awards and nominations, but the ratings waned in later years following Sorkin's departure after the end of its fourth season. “The West Wing” brought Sorkin six Emmys in the categories of Outstanding Drama Series (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003), Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (2000), and Outstanding Special Class Program for the 2002 “The West Wing Documentary Special,” which he executive produced. He also picked up two Humanitas Prizes for 60 Minute Category (2000, 2002), a Writers Guild of America for Episodic Drama (2001) and two PGAs for Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic-Drama (2001, 2002). He was awarded the PGA Nova Award for Most Promising Producer in Television for both series “Sports Night” and “The West Wing.”        

In 2005, Sorkin revisited the stage when he adapted his play “A Few Good Men” for London's West End. Back to the small screen in the following year, Sorkin created the comedy/drama series “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” for the NBC Netwrok. The show ran for a single season of 22 episodes  
from September 18, 2006 to June 28, 2007. Sorkin received Writers Guild of America nominations for Episodic Drama and New Series for his efforts.   

After about twelve years absence, Sorkin made his return to features by scripting the biographical comedy/drama “Charlie Wilson's War” (2007), which is based on the George Crile 2003 book “Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History.” Directed by Mike Nichols and starring Tom Hanks as Congressman Charlie Wilson, the film garnered mostly favorable reviews from critics, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance as Gust Avrakotos. The film was nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical, and Best Screenplay - Motion Picture for Sorkin. He also netted a Washington DC Area Film Critics Association for Best Adapted Screenplay and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Writer for the film.   

2007 also saw Sorkin adapt his screenplay “The Farnsworth Invention” to a stage production that premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in February of the year. The play also opened on Broadway later that same year in December.

In 2010, Sorkin wrote the David Fincher directed acclaimed drama “The Social Network,” which was adapted from Ben Mezrich's 2009 book “The Accidental Billionaires.” Depicting the founding of social networking website Facebook and the resulting lawsuits, the film starred Jesse Eisenberg as founder Mark Zuckerberg, along with Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake as the other principals involved in the website's creation. It earned eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, and won three for Best Adapted Screenplay, Sorkin's first Oscar's nod, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing. At the 68th Golden Globe Awards, the film won Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score. Apart from his Oscar and Golden Globe wins, Sorkin also took home numerous awards for his script, including a  BAFTA Film Award, Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Award, a Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award, a Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award, London Critics Circle Film ALFS Award, a National Society of Film Critics Award, an Online Film Critics Society Award, a USC Scripter Award, a Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award, Writers Guild of America Award, an Austin Film Critics Award, a Boston Society of Film Critics Award, a Chicago Film Critics Association Award,  a Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award, a Florida Film Critics Circle Award, a Las Vegas Film Critics Society Sierra Award, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, a National Board of Review Award, a Phoenix Film Critics Society Award, a San Diego Film Critics Society Award, a San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award, a Satellite Award, a Southeastern Film Critics Association Award, a Toronto Film Critics Association Award and a Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award.

“I identify with him. I've felt like I've had my nose pressed up against the glass of some cool party I have't been invited to. I've felt the world has reflected back to me that I'm a loser.” Aaron Sorkin (on creating Mark Zuckerberg's persona for “The Social Network”)

In 2011, Sorkin co-wrote the screenplay of the biographical sports drama film “Moneyball,” which was adapted from Michael Lewis's 2003 book of the same name. Directed by Bennett Miller and starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman, the film was released to critical acclaim in September of the year, and was nominated for six Academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing and Best Achievement in Film Editing. Sorkin also picked up a Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Award, a Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award (2nd place), a Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award, a National Society of Film Critics Award (2nd place), a Boston Society of Film Critics Award, a Chicago Film Critics Association Award, a Las Vegas Film Critics Society Sierra Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award, a San Diego Film Critics Society award, a Toronto Film Critics Association Award, a Golden Globe nomination, a BAFTA Film nomination, a Writers Guild of America nomination, an Australian Film Institute nomination, an Online Film Critics Society nomination, a Satellite nomination, a USC Scripter  nomination, a Vancouver Film Critics Circle nomination and a Washington DC Area Film Critics Association nomination.   

Recently, Sorkin created a new television series called “The Newsroom” for HBO. The show is set to premiere on June 24, 2012.              
        

Awards:

Broadcast Film Critics Association: Critics Choice Award, Best Adapted Screenplay, “Moneyball,” 2012
Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA):  2nd place, Best Screenplay, Adapted, “Moneyball,” 2012
Kansas City Film Critics Circle (KCFCC): Best Screenplay, Adapted, “Moneyball,” 2012
National Society of Film Critics (NSFC): 2nd place, Best Screenplay, “Moneyball,” 2012
Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC): Best Screenplay, “Moneyball,” 2011
Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA): Best Screenplay, Adapted, “Moneyball,” 2011
Las Vegas Film Critics Society: Sierra Award, Best Screenplay, “Moneyball,” 2011
New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC): Best Screenplay, “Moneyball,” 2011
San Diego Film Critics Society (SDFCS): Best Screenplay, Adapted, “Moneyball,” 2011
Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA): Best Screenplay, “Moneyball,” 2011
Oscar: Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2011
BAFTA Film: Best Screenplay (Adapted), “The Social Network,” 2011
Broadcast Film Critics Association: Critics Choice Award, Best Screenplay, Adapted, “The Social Network,” 2011
Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA): Best Screenplay, Adapted, “The Social Network,” 2011
Golden Globe: Best Screenplay - Motion Picture, “The Social Network,” 2011
Kansas City Film Critics Circle (KCFCC): Best Screenplay, Adapted, “The Social Network,” 2011
London Critics Circle Film: ALFS Award, Screenwriter of the Year, “The Social Network,” 2011
National Society of Film Critics (NSFC): Best Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2011
Online Film Critics Society (OFCS): Best Screenplay, Adapted, “The Social Network,” 2011
USC Scripter: “The Social Network,” 2011
Vancouver Film Critics Circle (VFCC): Best Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2011
Writers Guild of America (WGA): Best Adapted Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2011
Austin Film Critics: Best Screenplay, Adapted, “The Social Network,” 2010
Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC): Best Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2010
Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA): Best Screenplay, Adapted, “The Social Network,” 2010
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association (DFWFCA): Best Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2010
Florida Film Critics Circle (FFCC): Best Adapted Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2010
Las Vegas Film Critics Society: Sierra Award, Best Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2010
Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA): Best Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2010
National Board of Review (NBR): Best Adapted Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2010
Phoenix Film Critics Society (PFCS): Best Screenplay – Adaptation, “The Social Network,” 2010
San Diego Film Critics Society (SDFCS): Best Screenplay, Adapted, “The Social Network,” 2010
San Francisco Film Critics Circle (SFFCC): Best Adapted Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2010
Satellite: Best Screenplay, Adapted, “The Social Network,” 2010
Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA): Best Screenplay, Adapted, “The Social Network,” 2010
Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA): Best Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2010
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA): Best Adapted Screenplay, “The Social Network,” 2010
Hollywood Film: Screenwriter of the Year, 2010
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA): Best Adapted Screenplay, “Charlie Wilson's War,” 2007
Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “The West Wing,” 2003
Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “The West Wing,” 2002
Emmy: Outstanding Special Class Program, “The West Wing Documentary Special,” 2002
Humanitas Prize: 60 Minute Category, “The West Wing,” 2002
PGA: Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic-Drama, “The West Wing,” 2002
PGA: Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic-Drama, “The West Wing,” 2001
Writers Guild of America (WGA): Episodic Drama, “The West Wing,” 2001
Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “The West Wing,” 2001
Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “The West Wing,” 2000
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, “The West Wing,” 2000
PGA: Nova Award, Most Promising Producer in Television, “Sports Night” (1998) and “The West Wing,” 2000
Humanitas Prize: 60 Minute Category, “The West Wing,” 2000
Humanitas Prize: 30 Minute Category, “Sports Night,” 1999
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