John Richard Schlesinger, CBE (16 February 1926 – 25 July 2003) was an English film and stage director, and actor. He won an Academy Award for Best Director for Midnight Cowboy, and was nominated for two other films (Darling and Sunday Bloody Sunday).
Schlesinger was born in London, into a middle-class Jewish family, the son of Winifred Henrietta (née Regensburg) and Bernard Edward Schlesinger, a physician. After St Edmund's School, Hindhead, Uppingham School and Balliol College, Oxford, he worked as an actor.
Schlesinger's acting career began in the 1950s and consisted of supporting roles in British films such as The Divided Heart and Oh... Rosalinda!!, and British television productions such as BBC Sunday Night Theatre, The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Vise. He began his directorial career in 1956 with the short documentary Sunday in the Park about London's Hyde Park. In 1958 Schlesinger created a documentary on Benjamin Britten and the Aldeburgh Festival for the BBC's Monitor programme, including rehearsals of the children's opera Noye's Fludde featuring a young Michael Crawford. In 1959 Schlesinger was credited as exterior or second unit director on 23 episodes of the TV series The Four Just Men and four 30-minute episodes of the series Danger Man...
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