Oscar-winning film producer Michael Deeley has produced more than 20 movies, including such classics as The Italian Job, The Deer Hunter and Blade Runner. He has made films for Universal, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Columbia, United Artists, EMI, HBO, CBS and NBC.
Born in London in 1932 he was educated at Stowe and served as a Second Lieutenant in the British army in Malaya. Entering the film industry in 1952 as an assistant editor, he worked for Jacques Tati and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. before joining the editing team on several US TV series including the popular Robin Hood.
In 1956 Deeley produced his first film starring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. Two B-pictures followed before in 1958 he joined MCA Universal as head of TV film distribution in Great Britain.
By 1964 Deeley had become General Manager and producer of Woodfall Films – the most innovative production company in London, responsible for a series of films culminating in the Oscar winning Tom Jones. During his tenure he oversaw the production of the swinging-sixties classic The Knack which won the prestigious Palme d’Or.
During the late 60s, as an independent, Deeley produced a number of movies for Paramount Pictures including The Italian Job starring Michael Caine and Noël Coward and Murphy’s War starring Peter O’Toole. In 1967 he was part of a successful bid for the British independent TV franchise for Wales and the West of England.
In 1973 he became managing director and later owner of British Lion Films which successfully produced eight films in Britain, Italy and the USA including Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and The Man Who Fell To Earth and Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man which later developed a cult following.
In the mid-70s, Deeley sold British Lion to EMI and became Managing Director of EMI Films Ltd and President of EMI Films Inc. Films included Sam Peckinpah’s Convoy, Death On The Nile and in 1979 he won an Oscar as producer of The Deer Hunter starring Robert De Niro. In addition EMI Films Inc invested in Columbia Pictures’ Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and The Deep.
In 1982 Deeley finished work with Ridley Scott on a four year project, which turned out to be the biggest picture of his career – Blade Runner.
Between 1985 and 1990 he was Head of Production for Consolidated Entertainment Inc, responsible for numerous TV movies including the period drama Young Catherine starring Vanessa Redgrave.
Michael Deeley is Deputy Chairman of The British Screen Advisory Council and recently completed work on his autobiography Don’t Shoot The Producer.