Famous Birthdays: Baz Luhrmann
September 17, 1962 - currently 56 years old.
"There's a whole system in Hollywood where the director never speaks to the studio, but I like to engage them in a discussion. I listen.”
1962: Born Mark Anthony Luhrmann on September 17 in Sydney. He is an Australian writer, director, and producer with projects spanning film, television, opera, theatre, music, and recording industries. His mother, Barbara Carmel was a ballroom dance teacher and dress shop owner, and his father, Leonard Luhrmann, ran a petrol station and a movie theatre. He was raised in Herons Creek, a tiny rural settlement in northern New South Wales.
1975: He attended St Joseph's Hastings Regional School, Port Macquarie and St Paul's Catholic College, performing in the school's version of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1, and Narrabeen Sports High School, where he met future collaborator Craig Pearce.
He received the nickname "Baz" from his father Leonard, given to him because of his afro hair style, the name coming from the English Basil Brush. While still in high school, Luhrmann changed his name by deed poll to Bazmark, joining his nickname and birth name together.
1980: Luhrmann graduated high school and in the same year was cast opposite Judy Davis in the Australian film Winter of Our Dreams.
1982: Using the money he had earned from film and television experience he funded his own theatre company, The Bond Theatre Company, with future friends and collaborators, Nelly Hooper and Gabrielle Mason. The company performed at the Pavilion at Sydney's Bondi Beach. At the same time he conceived and appeared in a controversial television documentary, Kids of the Cross, where Luhrmann, embedded as a character, lived with a group of street kids.
1983: He began an acting course at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. He graduated in 1985 alongside Sonia Todd, Catherine McClements and Justin Monjo.
1992: On the screen he is best known for his romantic comedy film Strictly Ballroom. Luhrmann directed a video for John Paul Young's "Love Is in the Air", which was re-released to coincide with the release of Strictly Ballroom in which the song was featured prominently. Won two AACTA AWards for Strictly Ballroom - Best Director and Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted. He was a ballroom dancer as a child and his mother taught ballroom dancing which was an inspiration for Strictly Ballroom.
1993: Luhrmann assisted in the election campaign of former Australian prime minister Paul Keating.
1996: The modern film interpretation Romeo + Juliet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, defeated Titanic at the BAFTAs for best direction, music and screenplay. The film was celebrated at the Berlin Film Festival, where it was recognised with the Gold Bear award for direction and Silver Bear for DiCaprio's performance. Luhrmann also produced the soundtrack albums for the film.
1997: On January 26 of this year, he married Catherine Martin, an Australian costume designer, production designer, set designer and film producer. She won two Academy Awards for Moulin Rouge! in 2002 and another two for The Great Gatsby in 2014. Having won four Oscars, she is the most awarded Australian in Oscar history, having overtaken 1950s costume designer Orry-Kelly.
1999: As a music producer, Luhrmann is credited with "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)", a successful spoken word song in Europe and the Americas.
2001: Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! was named one of the AFI's top ten films of 2001 and in 2010 was chosen as the top film of the 2000s decade in a poll of 150,000 respondents in the United Kingdom. The film also gave birth to a successful soundtrack album, selling more than seven million copies, led by the Grammy-winning number one hit single "Lady Marmalade”.
2002: Nominated for a Grammy Award - Moulin Rouge! Music from Baz Luhrmann's Film, Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.
2003: Baz and Catherine have two children together: a girl, Lillian Amanda Luhrmann, was born on October 10 of this year and a boy, William Alexander Luhrmann, born on June 8, 2005.
2008: His romatic epic Australia starred Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. While achieving modest box office success in the United States, the film was very successful in Europe, maintaining the #1 slot at the box office for many weeks in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Scandinavian countries. It is the second-highest grossing Australian film of all time, next to Crocodile Dundee and ahead of Happy Feet.
Luhrmann was asked by the Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd to make new advertisements to promote Australia as a tourist destination.
2009: At the 81st Academy Awards in February, Luhrmann put together a number dedicated to musicals which consisted of Hugh Jackman, Beyonce, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Dominic Cooper and Amanda Seyfried. In September of this year, Luhrmann made an appearance as a guest judge on Dancing with the Stars.
2013: Luhrmann adapted F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, shot in 3D, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan, and Australian newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker.
2014: Nominated for a Grammy Award - The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann's Film, Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media. Won two AACTA Awards for The Great Gatsby - Best Film and Best Direction.
2016: Baz collaborated with award-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis on the Netflix series The Get Down about the birth of hip-hop in the 1970s.
2017: Luhrmann shot the campaign film The Secret Life of Flowers for the collaboration between Erdem and H&M.
His influence has extended outside the traditional realm of media and entertainment. Deeply involved in the fashion and art worlds, Luhrmann's No. 5 the Film for Chanel not only holds a Guinness World Record for the highest budget for an advertising commercial ever produced but pioneered the now commonplace genre of fashion film and branded content.
Luhrmann is equally known for his Grammy-nominated soundtracks for Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby, as well as his record label House of Iona, a co-venture with RCA Records. Serving as producer on all of his musical soundtracks, he also holds writing credits on many of the individual tracks.
Supports the Melbourne Demons in the AFL.