Biography of Steven Spielberg

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


Steven Spielberg:  One of Our Own


Spielberg in translation  means play mountain.  “Schemo Ken Hu”(You are like your name).  He created and directed multitudinous movies/plays - therefore his name befits him.  Of all the movies he directed, Schindler’s List is the most famous, describing in detail a portion of the Holocaust which is unforgettable to those of us who experienced it and those who dealt with it as well as those who were unbelievers and ignorant.

Spielberg was born December 18th, 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father was an electrical engineer.  His mother was a concert pianist.  He was the oldest of four children, the only son.  He was doted on by his mother and three sisters.  He was the center of their universe.  In school he was barely an average student who had little interest in his studies.  Because of his poor grades, he was not accepted by the university of his choice, but he did graduate from California State College. (There is a lesson in  this:  exceptionally bright people are not necessarily outstanding students in grade or high school – individuals develop at their own pace.

Because of Steven’s father, the family moved many times while the boy was growing up.  He learned much from the towns in which they lived.  He had opportunities that varied and gave him a broad perspective.  He particularly liked California and the west, in which many movies were made.  He was an ardent movie goer! He began directing his first short flicks while still a child.

Spielberg’s parents divorced and he moved to California with his father.  His three sisters and mother remained in Arizona, where he regularly attended Passover seders with them.

In his early life Steven suffered anti-Semitic prejudice.  He later spoke of these slights: “I was embarrassed, I was self conscious, I was always aware of my Jewishness.” He also related that he got smacked and kicked around and had “two bloody noses.  It was horrible,” during his high school years.

Steven began his career as a television director.  He was admired for his understanding portrayal of human character. His film Jaws was the first to earn one hundred million dollars.  Jurassic Park earned 900 million.  For Schindler's List he won an Academy Award.  His second Oscar was won for the realistic World War II drama Saving Private Ryan. Mr. Spielberg had several failures but he recovered very rapidly without dwelling on the few movies that were not outstanding. His many successes were phenomenal.  His film Munich about the events following the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes was his second film essaying Jewish relations in the world! The gross of all of Spielberg directed films exceeds eight and one half billion dollars.  His personal worth is over three billion!

Spielberg is an exceptionally generous man.  He spent millions supporting the Democratic Party and other causes.  He was a close friend of Clinton and hoped Hillary would win the presidential election. 

Spielberg is the father of seven children. To date he has been married twice.  The first time to Amy Irving for four years, and the second time to a convert, actress Kate Capshaw.  His divorce from Amy was one of the costliest divorces in history.  She received 100 million dollars.

Although Spielberg has had threats and has dealt with controversies and jealousies, he supports many causes, and has made films against prejudices and for the rights of children, the abused and deprived.  He has been one of most applauded movie makers and directors of all times!


Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the co-author, with Dr. Gerhard Falk, of  Deviant Nurses & Improper Patient Care (2006).

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