Leonard Maltin

Leonard Maltin

Birthday: December 18, 1950
Born Place: New York City, New York, USA
Height: 5' 8" (1.73 m)


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Leonard Maltin is one of the most recognized and respected film critics of our time. He recently completed his 30th season with the long-running television show, Entertainment Tonight (1981).

Maltin was born on Friday, December 18th, 1950, in New York City and grew up in suburban Teaneck, New Jersey. He credits the huge volume of old movies shown on New York television – and access to the City’s famous revival theaters, as well as the Museum of Modern Art – with his “basic training” in film history. He attended New York University as a journalism major, and quickly became the entertainment editor of the campus’ daily newspaper.

He and a friend published their own home-grown magazine when they were in the fifth grade. This evolved into a mimeographed publication called “Profile”, which reflected Leonard’s growing interest in show business and film history. At the age of 13, he volunteered his services as a writer to two fanzines: “The 8mm Collector”, of Indiana, Pennsylvania, and “Film Fan Monthly”, of Vancouver, Canada. Two years later, he assumed responsibility for “Film Fan Monthly” and continued publishing it for the next nine years.

It was that magazine that inspired an English teacher in his high school to suggest that he meet a friend of hers who was an editor at Signet Books. That meeting led to an offer for him to compile a paperback compendium of capsule movie reviews. The book was published in 1969, when Maltin was 18 and a freshman at NYU. Decades later, he is still best-known for that now-annual paperback reference, “Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide”. A perennial best-seller, “The Guide” has become an indispensable tool for movie lovers and includes over 16,000 film reviews, with ratings and essential facts about each title. In 2005, he introduced a companion volume, “Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide”, which focuses on movies made before 1965, going back to the silent era.

Leonard’s other books include “The Best 151 Movies You’ve Never Seen”, “The Disney Films”, “Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons”, “The Great American Broadcast: A Celebration of Radio’s Golden Age”, “The Great Movie Comedians”, “The Art of the Cinematographer”, “Selected Short Subjects” and (as co-author) “The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang”.

Leonard has been teaching at the USC School of Cinematic Arts for the last fifteen years. His popular class screens new films prior to their release, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Guests over the years have included: Alexander Payne, Judd Apatow, James Franco, David Lynch, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Costa-Gavras, Bertrand Tavernier, Anthony Hopkins, Annette Bening, Paul Haggis, Paul Weitz, Mark Ruffalo, Walter Salles, Guillermo del Toro & Jason Segel, to name just a few. In addition to top writers and directors, Maltin welcomes costume and production designers, editors, composers, cinematographers, casting directors, and other creative collaborators, in order to explore all aspects of the filmmaking process. This direct access to top talent has proven to be invaluable in his students’ own filmmaking endeavors.

Leonard’s reviews and signature on-air interviewing style can now be seen on his weekly program, Maltin on Movies (2010), on ReelzChannel, where he has appeared since the channel went on the air. He also previews movies-on-demand on Comcast and appears occasionally on “Turner Classic Movies”. For three years, he co-hosted the weekly syndicated movie review program, “Hot Ticket”, which was produced by Entertainment Tonight (1981).

Leonard is a prolific freelance writer, whose articles have appeared in “The New York Times”, “The Los Angeles Times”, “The London Times”, “Smithsonian”, “TV Guide”, “Esquire”, “The Village Voice” and “American Film”. He has contributed to Oxford University Press’ “American National Biography”, and was the film critic for “Playboy” magazine for six years.

Additionally, Leonard frequently lectures on film and was a member of the faculty of New York City’s “New School for Social Research” for nine years. He served as Guest Curator at the “Museum of Modern Art” film department in New York on two separate occasions.

Leonard created, hosted and co-produced the popular “Walt Disney Treasures” DVD series and appeared on Warner Home Video’s “Night at the Movies” features. He has written a number of television specials, including “Fantasia: The Creation of a Disney Classic and has hosted, produced and written such video documentaries and compilations as The Making of ‘The Quiet Man’ (1992), The Making of ‘High Noon’ (1992), “Cartoons for Big Kids”, The Lost Stooges (1990), “Young Duke: The Making of a Movie Star”, Cliffhangers! Adventures from the Thrill Factory (1993) and _Cartoon Madness: The Fantastic Max Fleischer Cartoons (1900)_.

In 2006, he was named by the Librarian of Congress to join the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He also has received awards and citations from the American Society of Cinematographers, Anthology Film Archives, The Society of Cinephiles and the Telluride Film Festival. In 1997, he was made a voting member of the National Film Registry, which selects 25 landmark American films every year. Perhaps the greatest indication of his fame was his appearance in a now-classic episode of the animated series, South Park (1997).

He has been married, since 1975, to fellow movie lover Alice Tlusty Maltin. They are the proud parents of Jessie Maltin (aka Jessica Bennett Maltin), who in recent years has become a valued contributor to the annual Movie Guide.

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