Raised in Texas, director Julian Schnabel began his career as an artist, holding his first solo exhibition in 1975 at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Schnabel became a key figure in the Neo-expressionism artistic movement, utilizing an audacious style that was often described as raw, evocative, and unapologetic. Schnabel's filmmaking career began in 1996 when he wrote and directed Basquiat, a biopic about the life of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The film was well received by critics, and he followed it up with another biopic, 2000's Before Night Falls, about Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas. In 2007, Schnabel directed an adaptation of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, who suffered a stroke and became paralyzed in every part of his body except for a single eyelid. The film screened at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Golden Palm award; Schnabel also won the festival's Best Director award. His success there was just the beginning, as that film would garner him a Golden Globe for Best Director, as well as nominations in that category from the Academy and the National Society of Film Critics.
Biography by Cammila Collar
- His freshman-year roommate at the University of Houston was actor Robert Wuhl.
- Toured Europe extensively after graduating from college before returning to New York.
- His paintings and sculptures have been featured in the collections of various museums throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
- His autobiography, CVJ: Nicknames of Maitre D's & Other Excerpts from Life, was published in 1987.
- Released the rock album Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud in 1995.
- Began his filmmaking career when he wrote and directed Basquiat (1996).
- Learned French in order to film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) in France, where the original book took place.