Miriam Leder (born January 26, 1952) is an American film and television director and producer noted for her action films and use of special effects. She was the first female graduate of the AFI Conservatory, in 1973.
Leder at the 75th Annual Peabody Awards
January 26, 1952
New York City, US
|Occupation||Film director, film producer, script supervisor|
Leder was born in New York City in 1952, the daughter of Etyl, a classical pianist, and Paul Leder, a director, producer, actor, writer, and editor of such films as My Friends Need Killing, Attack of the Giant Horny Gorilla, and Dismember Mama. Leder was raised in Los Angeles in a Jewish home. Her mother is a Holocaust survivor from Brussels, Belgium, who was interned at Auschwitz. During childhood, her father, a low-budget independent filmmaker, introduced Mimi and her siblings to film production. Her father often dropped her off at the cinema to watch the latest films. Leder states that one of the early films that had an impact on her was Federico Fellini's 8½. She was the first woman accepted into the AFI Conservatory, where she studied cinematography.
Leder began her career as a script supervisor on a string of films, including Spawn of the Slithis (1978), Dummy (1979), The Boy Who Drank Too Much (1980), and A Long Way Home (1980), and then moved to the TV series Hill Street Blues (1981). After making the short film Short Order Dreams, written and funded by her father Paul, she screened it for Steven Bochco, creator of Hill Street Blues, and his friend Gregory Hoblit who hired her to direct an episode of L.A. Law.
In 1988, Leder directed episodes of Crime Story, The Bronx Zoo, Midnight Caller, then directed several episodes of China Beach (1988–91) for which she was nominated for four Emmys. She made the made-for-TV films Woman with a Past (1992), House of Secrets (1993), and Baby Brokers (1994), then became one of the core directors for ER (1994–2009). The show earned her Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series in 1995 and 1996. She returned to direct an episode of the series during its final season in 2009. She soon received a job offer from Steven Spielberg to direct the film The Peacemaker (1997).
Continuing to work for DreamWorks, she directed Deep Impact (1998) and Pay It Forward (2000) while simultaneously creating Sentimental Journey (1999), a personal love story about her parents. Leder went through a period after making Pay It Forward where she wasn't hired to direct any feature films. Leder felt as though she had been put into a "movie jail" by Hollywood for the lack of success of Pay It Forward. Leder also attributed this reaction from the industry to her being a female.
Leder's dry spell of feature films after the release of Pay It Forward drove her to other pursuits in television and film. She shot nine pilots and produced six series, including The Beast (2001), John Doe (2002), Johnny Zero (2005), and Vanished (2006). Leder also made many made-for-TV movies such as Thick as Thieves (2009), U.S. Attorney (2009), and Heavenly (2011). In 2015, Leder was brought by HBO to direct a first-season episode of The Leftovers and later hired as a co-showrunner.
Leder's feature film On the Basis of Sex, the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's path to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, was released in December 2018. It is Leder's first theatrical feature in 18 years.
Leder has one daughter, Hannah, with her husband actor Gary Werntz. Leder states she "was raised a feminist" and "was an anti-war protester all during the Vietnam War".
|2000||Pay It Forward|
|2009||Thick as Thieves|
|2018||On the Basis of Sex|
|1988||A Year in the Life||Yes|
|The Bronx Zoo||Yes|
|Nightingales||Yes||1988 TV movie pilot for the 1989 TV series|
|Midnight Caller||Yes||"After It Happened" (Season 1, Episode 3)|
|1990||Sisters||Yes||1990 TV movie pilot for the 1991 TV series|
|1988–1991||China Beach||Yes||Yes||Director (13 episodes, 1988–1991)|
Producer (22 episodes, 1989–1990)
Supervising producer (16 episodes, 1990–1991)
|1991||A Little Piece of Heaven||Yes||TV movie|
|1992||Woman with a Past||Yes||TV movie|
|1993||Marked for Murder||Yes||TV movie|
|There Was a Little Boy||Yes||TV movie|
|Rio Shannon||Yes||TV movie|
|House of Secrets||Yes||TV movie|
|1994||Baby Brokers||Yes||TV movie|
|The Innocent||Yes||TV movie|
|2001||The Beast||Yes||Yes||Executive producer|
|2002–2003||John Doe||Yes||Yes||Executive producer|
|2005||Jonny Zero||Yes||Yes||Executive producer|
|2006||The West Wing||Yes|
|1994–2009||ER||Yes||Yes||Director (11 episodes, 1994–2009)|
Supervising producer (14 episodes, 1994–1995)
Co-executive producer (11 episodes, 1995)
|2009||U.S. Attorney||Yes||Yes||TV movie, Executive producer|
|2010||The Quinn-tuplets||Yes||TV movie|
|Human Target||Yes||"The Wife's Tale" (Season 2, Episode 2)|
|2014–2017||The Leftovers||Yes||Yes||Executive Producer|
|2019||The Morning Show||Yes||Yes||Executive Producer|
Awards and nominations
|1990||Emmy Award||Outstanding Drama Series||China Beach||Nominated|
|1991||American Film Institute||Franklin J. Schaffner Award||Won|
|Emmy Award||Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series||China Beach||Nominated|
|Outstanding Drama Series||Nominated|
|1992||Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Drama Series||Nominated|
|Directors Guild of America Award||Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series||Nominated|
|Emmy Award||Outstanding Drama Series||Won|
|Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series||Nominated|
|1997||Directors Guild of America Award||Nominated|
|2000||Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards||Dorothy Arzner Award||Won|
|2006||Emmy Award||Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series||The West Wing||Nominated|
Scott, Tobias. “Veteran TV Director Still Tries to Scale Film Barriers.” New York Times (10/13/2015): C2. Accessed November 13, 2018
Brodesser, Claude. “Helmer: Leder Among Men.” Daily Variety (6/9/2000): A4. Accessed November 13, 2018
Goldman, Michael. “Mimi Leger: Director.” Millimeter (Nov 1998) Accessed November 13, 2018
Rochlin, Margy. “For Mimi Leder, Persistence Pays Off.” Directors Guild of America Quarterly (Spring 2018) Accessed November 14, 2018
- Hurd, Mary G. Women Directors and Their Films. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007.
- Brodesser, Claude (June 2000). "Helmer: Leder Among Men". Daily Variety: A4 – via JSTOR.
- "Mimi Leder Biography". filmreference.com. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
- "Healing the World". Jewish Journal. October 26, 2000.
- Gregory, Mollie. Women Who Run the Show: How a Brilliant and Creative New Generation of Women Stormed Hollywood. New York: St. Martin's, 2002.
- Scott, Tobias (October 2015). "Veteran TV Director Still Tries to Scale Film Barriers". New York Times: C2 – via JSTOR.
- "Mimi Leder: Television Director, Producer." The Paley Center for Media: She Made It. Curator Ron Simon. The Paley Center for Media. Web. May 5, 2012.
- Sperling, Nicole (September 7, 2018). "The Long Road from Pay It Forward to Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Inside Director Mimi Leder's Return to the Big Screen". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
- Rochlin, Margy (Spring 2018). "For Mimi Leder, Persistence Pays Off". Directors Guild of America Quarterly.
- Mimi Leder on IMDb
- The Paley Center for Media: https://web.archive.org/web/20150924101220/http://www.shemadeit.org/meet/biography.aspx?m=38
- Mimi Leder DGA