Irwin Winkler is an American film producer and director. He is the producer or director of 50 major motion pictures, dating back to 1967’s Double Trouble, starring Elvis Presley. The fourth film he produced, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, starring Jane Fonda, was nominated for nine Academy Awards. In 1976, he won an Oscar for Best Picture for Rocky. As a producer, he has been nominated for Best Picture for three other films: Raging Bull, The Right Stuff, and Goodfellas.
Winkler was born in New York, New York, to father Sol Winkler and mother Anna Winkler. He received a BA from New York University in 1955, after serving in the U.S. Army.
In partnership with Robert Chartoff from the late 1960s, Irwin Winkler produced an impressive array of modern American gems, beginning with their first effort, John Boorman’s taut thriller Point Blank, largely ignored in its day but now regarded as a top film of the time. Adding Sydney Pollack to their production team for a one-shot-deal, they garnered critical acclaim for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?. Their next film, The Strawberry Statement, won the Jury Prize at Cannes but Chartoff and Winkler roared to the top with Rocky, which earned the Academy Award as Best Picture. Subsequently, the producing duo picked up Best Picture Oscar nominations for Raging Bull and The Right Stuff, their last project together before Winkler launched his solo career with the disappointing Revolution. Winkler produced such noteworthy features as Bertrand Tavernier’s Round Midnight and back-to-back Costa-Gavras films, Betrayed and Music Box, before receiving another Best Picture Oscar nomination for Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas. He also returned to the franchise to oversee Rocky IV and Rocky V, continuing the association forged with Sylvester Stallone on the first three Chartoff-Winkler productions.