Michael CiminoMichael Cimino ( ; February 3, 1939 – July 2, 2016) was an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and author. He achieved fame as the director of ''The Deer Hunter'' (1978), which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and earned him Best Director. However, Cimino's reputation would be tarnished by his follow-up ''Heaven's Gate'' (1980), a critical failure that became one of the biggest box-office bombs of all time.
Born in New York City, he graduated with a BA in graphic arts from Michigan State University in 1959 and a BFA and MFA from Yale University in 1961 and 1963. Cimino began his career filming commercials and moved to Los Angeles to take up screenwriting in 1971. After co-writing the scripts of ''Silent Running'' (1972) and ''Magnum Force'' (1973), he wrote the preliminary script for ''Thunderbolt and Lightfoot''. Clint Eastwood read the script and sent it to his personal production company Malpaso Productions, which allowed Cimino to direct the film in 1974.
After its success, Cimino earned critical accolades for co-writing, directing, and producing ''The Deer Hunter'' in 1978. This led to him receiving creative control for ''Heaven's Gate'', but the film proved to be a financial failure and lost production studio United Artists an estimated $37 million. It also was once regarded as one of the worst films ever made, although its reputation improved in later years. Cimino directed four films after ''Heaven's Gate'', with all failing critically and commercially. Following the release of his final film ''Sunchaser'' in 1996, he retired from filmmaking. Provided by Wikipedia