Francis Ford Coppola (1939)

Born in Detroit back in 1939, Coppola attended 22 schools in different parts of the USA because of his musician father’s travels. When he was eight, he contracted polio and spent almost a year in bed, his legs paralysed. “I was kept in a room by myself, and I used to read and occupy myself with puppets and mechanical gadgets. We had a tape recorder, a TV set and things like that”.

While attending the University of California at Los Angeles, the young film student demonstrated a talent for writing. In 1963, at the age of 24, Coppola met his wife Eleanor who was the assistant to the art director on “Dimetia 13 “, the directorial debut of the young filmmaker.

While still at college, Coppola caught the eye of producer Roger Corman who later gave him the chance to direct. In 1986 Coppola began shooting “Gardens of Stone”, his film about a Marine unit that buries the Vietnam War dead. On the shooting’s first day, the director got word that Gio, his son, aged only 23, had been killed in a speedboat accident. To escape the pain, Coppola poured himself into his work behind the camera and his writing.

His version of the world of the Mafia bosses, with their distorted code of honour, permeates the souls of millions through his trio of acclaimed “Godfather” films. The history of New York Mafia brought the producer an Oscar in 1972. In 1979 Coppola was awarded an Oscar again for his film “Apocalypse”.

Now Francis Ford Coppola, the winner of five Oscars, is a wine producer, resort hotel and restaurant owner, family cook and doting grandfather. The Coppolas, married for 33 years, have an estate with the largest vineyard in California, homes in San Francisco, Manhattan and Paris. Their daughter Sofia, 30, is an actress, photographer and clothes designer. Roman, 33, is a music video director.

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Francis Ford Coppola (1939)