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Alfred "Fred" Zinnemann (April 29, 1907 – March 14, 1997), born in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, was an American film director. He won four Academy Awards for directing films in various genres, including thrillers, westerns, film noir and play adaptations. He made 25 feature films during his 50-year career.
Zinnemann was among the first directors to insist on using authentic locations and for mixing stars with civilians to give his films more realism. Within the film industry, he was considered a maverick for taking risks and thereby creating unique films, with many of his stories being dramas about lone and principled individuals tested by tragic events. According to one historian, Zinnemann's style demonstrated his sense of "psychological realism and his apparent determination to make worthwhile pictures that are nevertheless highly entertaining."
Some of his most notable films were The Men (1950), High Noon (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), Oklahoma! (1955), The Nun's Story (1959), A Man For All Seasons (1966), The Day of the Jackal (1973), and Julia (1977). His films have received 65 Oscar nominations, winning 24.
Zinnemann directed and introduced a number of stars in their U.S. film debuts, including Marlon Brando, Rod Steiger, Pier Angeli, Julie Harris, Brandon deWilde, Montgomery Clift, Shirley Jones and Meryl Streep. He directed 19 actors to Oscar nominations, including Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Clift, Audrey Hepburn, Glynis Johns, Paul Scofield, Robert Shaw, Wendy Hiller, Jason Robards, Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Fonda, Gary Cooper and Maximilian Schell.
Fred Zinnemann died in London, England in 1997. He was 89 years old.