Fresh out of N.Y.U., Irwin Winkler landed a job as a messenger at the William Morris Agency, remaining with the firm in various capacities for six years. In 1966, Winkler became a film producer, forming a long and lucrative partnership with Robert I. Chartoff. The new team started modestly enough with an amusing Elvis Presley vehicle, Double Trouble (1967). Then followed a remarkable series of financial and critical successes, including They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), The New Centurions (1971), and all five Rocky films. Winkler has picked up an Academy award for Rocky (1976), earned Oscar nominations for Raging Bull (1981), The Right Stuff (1984), and Goodfellas (1990), and has won scores of international film awards. Extending his activities to television, he has served as executive producer of the weekly series MacGyver and Monty. He added directing to his list of accomplishments with 1991's Guilty by Suspicion, which he also wrote. Irwin Winkler has since co-written and directed Night and the City (1992) and The Net (1995).
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to '53.
- First showbiz job was working in the mailroom at the prestigious William Morris Agency.
- Cofounded Chartoff-Winkler Productions with Robert Chartoff in 1967.
- When funding couldn't be secured for Sylvester Stallone's Rocky (1976), Chartoff and Winkler mortgaged their houses to get the film made.
- Was made a Commander d'Artes et de Lettres in 1985 by the French Minister of Culture and Communications.
- Made his directing and screenwriting debut in 1991 with Guilty by Suspicion, starring Robert De Niro and Annette Bening.
- Was a producer of the original 1972 version of The Mechanic and served as an executive producer of the 2011 remake.