Michael Mann
Birth Date:
February 5, 1943
Birth Place:
Chicago, Illinois, USA
5' 8" (1.73 m)
Famous for:
Executive producer of NBC cop series Miami Vice (1984-89)
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The Insider


Oscar nominated, Emmy Award winning American director, producer and screenwriter Michael Mann first made an impact on the small screen thanks largely to his work on the influential cop series “Miami Vice” (NBC, 1984-1989). Mann then wrote and directed the TV film “The Jericho Mile” (1979), where he nabbed an Emmy for his writing, and produced the miniseries “Drug Wars: The Camarena Story” (1990), from which he gained his second Emmy Award. Making his promising feature film directorial debut with “Thief” (1981), from which he took home a nomination at Cannes, 5' 8” Mann was shot to stardom in the late 1990s with “The Insider,” starring Russell Crowe. The acclaimed biopic collected a respective seven Oscar nominations, including Best Director, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for Mann.

“I think it's easy for directors to stay fresh more than actors, especially once an actor becomes a star. It's hard for Russell Crowe to walk down a street or take a subway. I can fly coach.” Michael Mann

Mann is also known for directing “Manhunter” (1986), “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992), “Heat” (1995), “Ali” (2001), “Collateral” (2004) and “Miami Vice” (2006) and as the producer of Martin Scorsese's “The Aviator” (2004), from which he earned a BAFTA Award, a PGA Award and an Oscar nomination. Mann's more recent and upcoming film projects include Peter Berg's “The Kingdom” (2007) and “Hancock” (2008), “The Few” (2008), “Public Enemies” (2009) and “Frankie Machine” (2010).

The married father of four served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 2000 to 2006. He is a close friend of indie-auteur Abel Ferrara and famed author Edward Bunke. Robert De Niro, who worked with him in “Heat,” cites Mann as one of his favorite directors.

Michael Kenneth

Childhood and Family:

Michael Kenneth Mann was born on February 5, 1943, in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Jack Mann, was an immigrant from Ukraine, and his mother, Esther, was a native of Chicago. Both of his parents were grocers. Michael was raised in the neighborhood of Humboldt Park. As a teenager, he plunged himself in the growing Chicago blues music scene.

Michael left Chicago when he went to college at the University of Wisconsin at Medison. He studied English literature and became a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. Michael, however, was not interested in filmmaking until he took a film history class. He was amazed by the work of Stanley Kubrick in “Dr. Strangelove” (1964).

Michael moved to England after graduating and got an M.A. degree from the London International Film School in 1967. He would stay in London for the next four years, during which time he worked in an advertising agency and emerged as a director of documentaries and commercials.

In 1974, Michael married Summer Mann. They have four children together. Daughter Ami Canaan Mann directed the award winning independent drama “Morning” (2000) and wrote the script and produced the based-on-book television movie “Nancy Drew” (2002).

Miami Vice


Finding a passion for filmmaking while in college, Michael Mann continued to pursue his interest in London where he received his master's degree in 1967. In 1965, he worked for an advertising agency and got his start in the world of entertainment as a director of TV commercials. He soon progressed to documentary films and in 1968, directed a documentary called “Insurrection,” in which he also worked as a cinematographer. With “Janpuri” (1971), an award winning short about student riots in France, Mann added producing to his endeavors.

Moving back to the United States in 1971, Mann decided to stay in Hollywood and began writing scripts for TV dramas like ABC's “Starsky and Hutch” (1975-1977) and NBC's “Police Story” (1976-1978). In 1978, he scripted the TV movie pilot for the Aaron Spelling produced “Vega$” and continued to write for the subsequent series, which ran from 1978 to 1981. Also that year, Mann made the leap to the big screen with the drama directed by Ulu Grosbard, “Straight Time,” where he served as an unaccredited screenwriter.

His luck's started to change in 1979 when Mann made his TV movie directorial debut with the sport themed “The Jericho Mile” (ABC), which starred Peter Strauss as a condemned murderer. He took home a Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Specials/Movies for TV/Actuality, sharing with Penelope L. Foster (unit production manager), Frank Beetson (first assistant director) and John R. Kittleson. Also co-writing the teleplay with Patrick J. Nolan, Mann jointly netted an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series or a Special.

After contributing the script to Jerry London’s TV film “Swan Song” (Fox, 1980), Mann made his silver screen directorial debut with “Thief” (1981), which he also executive produced and wrote. Based on a novel by Frank Hohimer titled “The Home Invaders,” the film starred James Caan.

Mann returned the director's chair in 1983 for the horror movie “The Keep,” which he scripted based on the work by novelist F. Paul Wilson. Unlike its predecessor, the film proved a critical and commercial flop. Subsequently, he turned his attention again to television. Mann's effort paid off when the police series he executive produced, “Miami Vice,” had an impressive five season run (from 1984-1989) on NBC. Known for making Don Johnson a household name, “Miami Vice” brought Mann a 1985 joint Emmy nomination for Outstanding Drama Series.

Mann served as executive producer on the 1960s-set cop series “Crime Story,” which ran on NBC from 1986 to 1988 and starred Dennis Farina and Anthony John Denison. He also provided the story for eight episodes and directed an episode in 1987 called “Top of the World.” He then lent his executive producing talents for the 1986 action movie “Band of the Hand,” directed by Paul Michael Glaser, and the 1987 TV series “Private Eye,” and briefly returned to the big screen as the director and writer with “Manhunter” (1986), for which he worked with director of photography Dante Spinotti. The thriller introduced the character of cannibalistic psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter, then played by Brian Cox, and brought Mann a Critics Award from the Cognac Festival du Film Policier and a nomination for Best Motion Picture at the 1987 Edgar Allan Poe Awards.

After the demise of “Miami Vice,” Mann executive produced, directed and scripted “L.A. Takedown” (NBC, 1989), an unsuccessful TV movie pilot which later served as the basis of his film “Heat.” He rebounded in 1990 with the NBC miniseries “Drug Wars: The Camarena Story,” for which, as producer, he jointly picked up an Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries. He executive produced the installment “Drug Wars: The Cocaine Cartel” (1992), which was nominated for an Emmy in the same category. 1992 also saw Mann working on the remake of “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992), which he directed, co-wrote and produced. The adventure movie won an Academy Award for Best Sound, brought several honors for star Daniel Day-Lewis and has been heralded as possibly his best work. It also marked his reunion with Spinotti.

“Heat” (1995), a drama which reunited the Hollywood heavyweights Al Pacino and Robert De Niro after their strong performances in 1974's “The Godfather, Part II,” kept the director-writer-producer on the map, but it was Mann's subsequent film that really made him a star. “The Insider” (1999) starred Russell Crowe in his Oscar nominated performance as real-life tobacco company research scientist Jeffrey Wigand who decides to reveal industry secrets to the public with an appearance in an episode of “60 Minutes.” Mann, who directed, produced, and co-wrote the script with Eric Roth, received three Oscar nominations for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, two Golden Globe nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay and many other nominations. He also won a Satellite and a Santa Fe Film Critics Circle for Best Director, the Freedom of Expression Award from the National Board of Review and the Humanitas Prize Award.

Two years later, Mann directed “Ali,” an acclaimed biopic about boxing legend Muhammad Ali (played by Will Smith). He was reunited with Eric Roth for the script and produced the film with Paul Ardaji, James Lassiter and others. Under his direction, Smith netted both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. Mann followed “Ali” with the box office thriller “Collateral” (2004), starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx, who earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He directed and produced the movie, but gave the writing credit to Stuart Beattie, and for his efforts, Mann was handed a National Board of Review for Best Director and a Future Film Festival Digital Award at the Venice Film Festival. In between, Mann executive produced the short lived crime series “Robbery Homicide Division” (2002-2003), starring Tom Sizemore, and the Mario Van Peebles directed “How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass” (2003).

After “Collateral,” Mann scored victory at the Academy Awards with the Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle “The Aviator” (2004), directed by Martin Scorsese. As producer, he received a 2005 nomination for Best Motion Picture of the Year, an honor he shared with Graham King. In addition, he won a BAFTA for Best Film and a PGA for Motion Picture Producer of the Year. In 2006, Mann returned as director-screenwriter-producer for the remake of 1980s cop series “Miami Vice,” which received moderate reviews from critics. He rejoined Jamie Foxx, who portrayed the intelligent and urbane Ricardo Tubbs, and cast Collin Farrell as the cheeky and magnetic Sonny Crocket.

Mann next produced the Peter Berg action films “The Kingdom” (2007), also starring Jamie Foxx, and “Hancock” (2008), which cast Will Smith and Charlize Theron in leading roles. He also produced the direct-to-video “Nobody Loves Alice” (2008), helmed and penned by Roger A. Scheck. As a director, Mann cast Johnny Depp and Christian Bale for his upcoming film “Public Enemies” (2009), which he will also produce. He is also set to work on the drama “The Few,” based on the real-life story of American pilot Billy Fiske (played by Tom Cruise), and “Frankie Machine” (2010), starring Robert De Niro in the titular role of a former mob hit man.


  • BAFTA Film: Best Film, “The Aviator,” 2005

  • PGA: Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award, “The Aviator,” 2005

  • Hollywood Film Festival: Director of the Year, 2004

  • National Board of Review: Best Director, “Collateral,” 2004

  • Venice Film Festival: Future Film Festival Digital Award, “Collateral,” 2004

  • Empire: Inspiration Award, 2002

  • Satellite: Golden Satellite Award, Best Director, “The Insider,” 2000

  • Humanitas Prize: Feature Film Category, “The Insider,” 2000

  • Santa Fe Film Critics Circle: Best Director, “The Insider,” 2000

  • National Board of Review: Freedom of Expression Award, “The Insider,” 1999

  • Emmy: Outstanding Miniseries, “Drug Wars: The Camarena Story,” 1990

  • Cognac Festival du Film Policier: Critics Award, “Manhunter,” 1987

  • Directors Guild of America (DGA): Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Specials/Movies for TV/Actuality, “The Jericho Mile,” 1980

  • Emmy: Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series or a Special, “The Jericho Mile,” 1979

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