British film, television, and theatre director, who has also worked in the USA. Born in London and educated at Uppingham and Balliol College, Oxford, Schlesinger began as an actor, first in university productions and then in the professional theatre and in such films as The Battle of the River Plate (1956) and Brothers-in-Law (1957). As a director he began with BBC television programmes (1958–60), working on Tonight and Monitor; he then won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival with the British Transport documentary Terminus (1960).
His debut feature film A Kind of Loving (1962), adapted from Stan Barstow's novel, won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Subsequent films of the 1960s included Billy Liar (1963), Darling (1965), Far From the Madding Crowd (1967), and Midnight Cowboy (1969), which was made in New York and won the best film and best director Oscars. Schlesinger's later films, most of which were made in the USA, include Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), Marathon Man (1976), Yanks (1978), Madame Sousatzka (1988), Pacific Heights (1990), and Eye for an Eye (1995). His television plays, Separate Tables (1982) and An Englishman Abroad (1983), were also enthusiastically received. He was an associate director of the National Theatre from 1973 to 1988 and has directed numerous plays as well as The Tales of Hoffmann (1980) at Covent Garden.
From Who's Who in the Twentieth Century in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).