Julia Phillips

Julia Phillips made history in Hollywood by becoming the first woman to win the Best Picture Oscar for producing the classic The Sting (1973), along with husband and producing partner Michael Phillips and Tony Bill. From there, she went on the produce other hits such as Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) and Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), becoming an important figure in the business on the wave of the rising figures of the New Hollywood era.

She was born in New York City on 7 April, 1944. Daughter of Adolph Miller (a chemical engineer) and Tanya, Julia Miller attended Mount Holyoke where she earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and awards for her writings. After marrying Michael Phillips (of whom she got her last name. They married in 1964), she contributed as a book section editor for a magazine, and later as story editor for Paramount studios. When they moved to the West Coast, they had the chance to produce their first film, the comedy Steelyard Blues (1973). After that experience, their next move was with The Sting (1973), their second film together and produced when Julia was just 29 years-old. The movie was a critical and commercial success that established as a highly influential figure in Hollywood.

However, after the Oscar and the successful films, the excesses of fame came along with a drug addiction that cost her career in the 1980’s – a period in which she producer only one film after spending some time in rehab. In 1991 she produced Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (1991) which would be her final producing credit. That same year, Julia published her autobiography “You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again”, an infamous book about her reckless life and also of many stars and executives in the Hollywood industry. The book was a best-seller due to her candid and scathing revelations but also made her unwanted by the film industry. In 1995, she wrote her second autobiography “Driving Under the Affluence”, accounting her experiences after addiction.

She died on 1 January, 2002.

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