Best Known For
Spike Jonze is best known for his films Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are. He produced MTV's Jackass.
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American director and producer Spike Jonze was born Adam Spiegel on October 22, 1969, and adopted the name "Spike Jonze" while competing in skateboarding competitions. His first success in TV came with producing the Beastie Boys' video for the song "Sabotage." He continued to direct music videos, but later earned fame for directing the films Being John Malkovich,
Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are. Jonze was previously married to director Sofia Coppola.
Director, actor and producer Spike Jonze was born Adam Spiegel on October 22, 1969, in Rockville, Maryland. Related (on his father's side) to the prosperous Spiegel family and an heir to its catalog fortune, Jonze grew up in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, with his mother and older sister (his parents divorced when he was still young). By the time he entered high school, he had adopted the name "Spike Jonze" and was participating in competitive skateboarding and BMX bicycling.
Immediately after his graduation from high school, the 17-year-old Jonze moved to Los Angeles and began working as an editorial assistant at Freestylin', a biker magazine. In 1991, he helped found Dirt, a short-lived spin-off of the popular teen magazine Sassy, aimed at teenage male readers. His first music-video gig came in 1992, when he was hired to shoot video footage of skateboarding for Sonic Youth's "100%."
Jonze's breakthrough video, for the song "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys, was an inspired take-off on 1970s cop shows; the video earned four MTV Video Music Awards, including one for Jonze (best director). That same year, Jonze cemented his reputation for innovation and creativity with his eye-catching video for Weezer's "Buddy Holly," in which the alternative band performed their hit single in the middle of what appeared to be an episode of the 1970s sitcom Happy Days.
Throughout the 1990s, Jonze directed music videos for many other prominent artists—including R.E.M., the Breeders, Puff Daddy, the Chemical Brothers and Bjork—as well as a number of memorable television commercials for companies like Nike, Sprite, Nissan, and Coca-Cola. His interest and talent also extended to the other side of the camera: He was dragged behind a van in a TV spot for Levi's 501, and played bit parts in the films Mi Vida Loca (1993) and The Game (1997).
In the 1999 video for "Praise You," the hit single by British DJ Fatboy Slim (which he co-directed), Jonze starred as spastic community dance-troupe leader Richard Koufey, racking up three more MTV awards and showing up at the ceremony as Koufey (whom Jonze still maintains is another person). In addition, Jonze directed a number of short features.
After a deal to direct the $25 million film adaptation of the children's book Harold and the Purple Crayon fell through in 1997, Jonze signed a development and production deal with Propaganda Films.
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