The only child to Jewish parents in Miami, FL, Brett Ratner was accepted to N.Y.U. at the age of 16. Attending the Tisch School for the Arts, he received funding from Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment for his senior project Whatever Happened to Mason Reese?, a documentary about a child star. After forming a friendship with Def Jam producer Russell Simmons, Ratner began directing music videos for stars such as Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, and Madonna. It was Simmons who helped him get his first big break, directing Money Talks with Chris Tucker and Charlie Sheen. Ratner worked with Tucker again for his sophomore effort, Rush Hour, a Jackie Chan comedy that broke box-office records for New Line Cinema. A brief departure into romantic comedy with The Family Man was not very well received, but the wild success of Rush Hour 2 brought him back into the limelight, and he soon landed the director's chair for The Silence of the Lambs prequel Red Dragon. He helmed the pilot of the FOX drama Prison Break, and was behind the camera for the superhero sequel X-Men: The Last Stand before returning to familiar territory in 2007 with Rush Hour 3. He created one of the segments for the omnibus film New York, I Love You, and directed Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller in the ensemble action comedy Tower Heist in 2011. He was tapped to direct the 2012 Oscar telecast, but was fired from the job, allegedly after making a series of insensitive statements.
Biography by Andrea LeVasseur
- His mother is a well-known Cuban-born socialite in Miami.
- Graduated from high school at the age of 16 and enrolled in NYU Film School.
- Received a scholarship from Steven Spielberg's production company in his senior year to fund his thesis project, a documentary about former child star Mason Reese.
- Started his professional career directing music videos for such artists as P. Diddy, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z.
- Was the recipient of the inaugural Ally Award at the 2013 GLAAD Media Awards.