Biographies of Yale's 2011 honorary degree recipients

Yale’s 2011 honorary degree recipients include Chris Argyris, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Joan Didion, Douglas Engelbart, John Heilbron, George Mitchell, Youssou Ndour, Sir Richard Peto, Janet Davison Rowley, and Martin Scorcese. ,

Chris Argyris

Chris Argyris is one of the world’s leading thinkers about organizational behavior. He has influenced generations of business leaders, fellow scholars, and students. Professor Argyris was a member of the Yale faculty for twenty years and is professor emeritus at the Harvard Business School. He was instrumental in the creation of the Yale School of Management and has been honored at Yale with an endowed faculty position established in his name.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Professor Argyris served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, achieving the rank of Second Lieutenant. Following the war, he completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a master’s degree in economics and psychology at the University of Kansas. His doctoral work at Cornell University focused on organizational behavior. Upon completion of his doctorate, he joined the Yale faculty in 1951, serving as the Beach Professor of Administrative Sciences and also as chair of the Administrative Sciences Department. In 1971 he moved to Harvard and was appointed the James Bryant Conant Professor of Education and Organizational Behavior.

Early in his academic career, Professor Argyris studied the impact of organizational systems on individuals. His books Personality and Organization (1957) and Integrating the Individual and the Organization (1964) focused on the effect of formal organizational structures, control systems, and management and how individuals respond and adapt to them. His next major area of study was organizational change, including how senior executives help bring about change, and the role of the social scientist as both researcher and actor. His books Interpersonal Competence and Organizational Effectiveness (1962), Organization and Innovation (1965), Intervention Theory and Method (1970), Inner Contradictions of Rigorous Research (1980), and Action Science (1985, with Robert Putnam and Diana McLain Smith) reflect his work in these areas

Professor Argyris is perhaps best known for his work, with Donald Schön, on how people make decisions, explain their actions, and learn from their experiences. By articulating the concept of “theories of action,” Professor Argyris and his colleague proposed the idea that people operate from a “theory in use”—what they actually do—that truly governs their behavior, rather than their “espoused theory,” or what they say they mean and believe. This theoretical approach, along with the concept of reflection in action and his explication of single- and double-loop learning, explores individual and organizational learning, and the ways that human reasoning becomes that basis for diagnosis, decision making, action, and change. These seminal ideas were presented in several coauthored books: Theory in Practice (1974), Organizational Learning (1978), and Organizational Learning II (1996). He also explored these ideas in Overcoming Organizational Defenses: Facilitating Organizational Learning (1990) and Knowledge for Action: A Guide to Overcoming Barriers to Organizational Change (1993).

Professor Argyris is a prolific author whose work is both respected by scholars and accessible to practitioners. His other books include On Organizational Learning (1999), Reasons and Rationalizations: The Limits to Organizational Knowledge (2006), Teaching Smart People How to Learn (2008), and most recently, Organizational Traps: Leadership, Culture, Organizational Design (2010)

Gro Harlem Brundtland

Gro Harlem Brundtland is a well-respected expert in the environment, sustainable development, and public health. She is also the former prime minister of Norway and both the youngest and first woman to have served in that position. A physician and former Director-General of the World Health Organization, also the first woman in that position, she has served as a special envoy on climate change and currently is a member of the Secretary-General’s Global Sustainability Panel for the United Nations. She is known as the “mother of sustainable development.”

Dr. Brundtland was born in Oslo, Norway, and lived in the United States, Egypt, and Norway as a child. She was influenced by her father, a physician and politician, to pursue a medical career of her own and to become active and involved in political life. At the age of seven, she joined the children’s organization of Norway’s Labour Party, and has been a member ever since. She completed her medical degree at the University of Oslo and later earned a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University. Her studies inspired her interest in issues of poverty, population growth, food security, and public health, and laid the foundation for her ability to combine tenets of traditional medicine with practices related to environmental and economic development. Her early medical career centered on children’s health issues, and she earned her first government post in 1974, when she was appointed Minister of the Environment for Norway.

She became head of the Labour Party and prime minister in 1981, serving for nine months until the Labour Party lost power. After leading a successful opposition, Dr. Brundtland served again as prime minister from 1986 to 1989, and a third time from 1990 to 1996. As a result of her leadership and example, Norway continues to have the highest proportion of women in senior government positions of any country in the world.

In 1983, at the request of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr. Brundtland established the World Commission on Environment and Development, a group directed to studying “the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resources and the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development.” The Brundtland Commission, as it came to be known, put forth the idea that environmental problems were global in nature and determined that it was in the common interest of all nations to establish policies for what it termed sustainable development. The Commission’s report, “Our Common Future,” was published in 1987 and still serves as the most comprehensive evaluation and explanation of the complex interrelationships between development and environment. The Commission’s work served as an impetus for subsequent international cooperation on climate change, including the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the Kyoto Protocol. Dr. Brundtland’s international reputation and widespread respect led to her election as Director-General of the World Health Organization in 1998, where she led the response to the SARS outbreak, established a support system for the delivery of medications to poor nations, advanced the eradication of polio, and adopted a far-reaching global approach to public health.

Dr. Brundtland has been honored with a Blue Planet Prize from the Asahi Glass Foundation, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal, and World Ecology Award, among others. She is a founding member of the “Elders,” a group of senior leaders chaired by Desmond Tutu, which contributes wisdom in resolving current global issues.

Joan Didion

Joan Didion is a distinguished and prolific writer with a celebrated career as a columnist, essayist, and novelist.

Ms. Didion was born in California and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. Her first job after graduation was as a promotional copywriter for Vogue magazine in New York. During her eight years at Vogue, she rose through the ranks to become an associate feature editor. During this period, she also met her husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, who became her lifelong writing partner.

Much of Ms. Didion’s writing serves as provocative social commentary. She has written extensively about California. Her first novel, Run River (1963), was a piercing analysis of complicated relationships set in the Sacramento Valley, describing a marriage and its downward spiral to alienation and violence. In 1964 she moved back to the West Coast and wrote a series of columns for The Saturday Evening Post that were collected and published as Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968). The essays in the book portray the upheaval of the 1960s with a focus on the hippie movement in Haight-Ashbury. Ms. Didion’s next book, the novel Play It As It Lays (1970), was nominated for a National Book Award and continued the themes of social disorder and cultural meaninglessness, as did her next works, A Book of Common Prayer (1977) and The White Album (1979).

In 1982 Ms. Didion and her husband traveled to El Salvador when the country was in the grip of violent civil war with a repressive military regime. Her book Salvador (1983), which received widespread critical acclaim, was an extended essay reporting on her experiences and observations. She returned to fiction with her next book, Democracy (1984), followed by the nonfiction works Miami (1987) and After Henry (1992), and her most recent novel, The Last Thing He Wanted (1996). Ms. Didion has also written about post-9/11 America in Fixed Ideas (2003).

After nearly forty years of marriage, Ms. Didion’s husband died suddenly in 2003. She wrote an unflinchingly honest account of her life in the aftermath of his death, The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (2006). Searing in its grief, and capturing numbness and shock in style and language, Ms. Didion’s memoir gave voice to the hidden experiences of bereavement and loss. She also wrote a one-woman play based on the book, which premiered in 2007 and was performed on Broadway and throughout the world.

Ms. Didion has been widely honored for her writing. In addition to numerous nominations, she has received a Gold Medal for Belles Lettres from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, in honor of her distinguished writing career; and a National Book Award for The Year of Magical Thinking. Additionally, in 2007, she was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Douglas Engelbart

Douglas Engelbart, a pioneer in the field of computing, is credited with many technological firsts, including the invention of the computer mouse. He is the founder and served as director of Bootstrap Institute, now known as the Douglas Engelbart Institute, an organization devoted to developing collective intelligence to address increasingly complex human problems.

Mr. Engelbart was born in Portland, Oregon, grew up on a small farm there, and enrolled at Oregon State University in 1942. His studies were interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Navy at the end of his sophomore year. During his service in World War II, he worked as a radar technician, an experience that would help shape his later career. Following the war, he completed his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and went to work at Ames Aeronautical Laboratory in California, an organization that was to become associated with the space program. Ames used the large computers that were the cutting edge at the time. These stand-alone machines required technicians to operate them and were used primarily for processing complex numerical calculations. Based on his work with radar, Mr. Engelbart thought the computers could be developed to display information in an accessible form and thus more easily augment human intelligence. In 1951, after three years at Ames, he began work on his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley, where he pursued his ideas about computers. After completing his degree with six patents to his credit, he taught for a year, then took a position as a computer researcher with the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California, where he eventually directed his own research laboratory of almost fifty people. It was during his work there from 1957 to 1977 that he began to realize some of his long-held vision of the power of computing, as his group worked on the mouse, display editing, windows, cross-file editing, hypermedia, and shared-screen teleconferencing. In 1963 he built the first mouse: two wheels attached to an analog device set in a wooden box and wired to an early computer workstation. Five years later Mr. Engelbart and his colleagues unveiled what was the culmination of years of effort, when they demonstrated a computer with keyboard, screen, mouse, and head-mounted microphone. This early model was the basis for the world’s first personal computer, the Altair, and also the precursor of the technology necessary for Internet-based computing. After twenty years at the Stanford Research Institute, he worked as senior scientist at Tymshare, Inc., and McDonnell Douglas Corporation before moving to Stanford University, where he founded and directed the Bootstrap Institute and the Bootstrap Alliance.

From the beginning of his interest in computers, Mr. Engelbart has cultivated a focus on the human/machine interaction and the role of this relationship in creating and advancing knowledge. In the early days of his career, very few even in the scientific community understood or embraced these concepts. In recent years, however, Mr. Engelbart has been recognized for work that was far ahead of its time, work that has contributed to wide area collaboration, groupware, office automation, and the development and advancement of knowledge. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, won the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2000, and was the recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2003.

John Heilbron

John Heilbron is a scholar and distinguished historian of science. He is vice chancellor emeritus and professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Berkeley.

Born in San Francisco, Professor Heilbron was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics and completed his doctorate in history in 1964. After a term as assistant director of the Sources for History of Quantum Physics Project, he began his academic career as an assistant professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania before returning to his alma mater in 1967. At Berkeley, he rose through the ranks to become professor and director of the Office for the History of Science and Technology in 1973, and was named Class of 1936 Professor of History and History of Science in 1985. From 1990 to 1994 he served as vice chancellor, the second-ranking administrative appointment in the university, with responsibility for the promotion and conduct of academic programs and the oversight of capital projects. He has also been a member of the Modern History Faculty of the University of Oxford and senior research fellow in the Oxford Museum for History of Science and Worcester College, Oxford.

Professor Heilbron’s combination of academic expertise in physics and in history is evident in his scholarship. His books and articles on the history of physics have covered a wide range of topics including electricity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Max Planck and his moral dilemmas, the use of churches in early modern Europe as solar observatories, and the development of geometry and the life of Galileo. One of his major contributions to the field is his ability to explain both the technical aspects of science as well as the social, cultural, and political forces at work and their interaction with and impact on scientific exploration.

One of Professor Heilbron’s best-known works is The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories (1999), which explores the relationship between science and Catholic theology in the seventeenth century. The Church, while espousing an earth-centered view of the universe, also needed to engage in astronomical observations in order to determine the correct date of Easter, which was based on the relative motions of the earth, sun, and moon. Cathedrals installed gnomons, sophisticated forms of sundials, and thus became centers of solar observations. In his writing, Professor Heilbron addressed the science of the time, as well as theology, history, and culture. He was awarded the Pfizer Prize of the History of Science Society, its highest book award, in 2001 for The Sun in the Church. His most recent book, Galileo (2010), is a comprehensive biography that portrays Galileo not just as a mathematician but also as a scholar of the arts, including poetry and music, and a gifted writer.

Among his other contributions, for many years he edited Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, one of the leading journals in the history of science. He cofounded the International Summer School in History of Science, a triennial meeting of young scholars and graduate students, and has served as teacher and mentor to a generation of students.

George Mitchell

George Mitchell, a United States senator for the state of Maine from 1980 until 1995, has been an influential figure in efforts to achieve peace around the world. He was a major negotiator in the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland and currently serves as Middle East envoy for the Obama administration.

Senator Mitchell was born in Maine, the son of Lebanese and Irish immigrants. He received his bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and then served in the U.S. Army as a counter-intelligence officer in Berlin. Following his military service, he earned his law degree from Georgetown University and worked as a lawyer for the U.S. Justice Department, as U.S. Attorney for Maine, and as a U.S. District Court judge. He was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat vacated when Senator Edmund Muskie became secretary of state in 1980. He was elected to a full term in 1982. Following his reelection in 1988 with an unprecedented 81 percent of the vote, he became senate majority leader, a position he held until he retired from the Senate in 1995.

During a distinguished career as a lawmaker, Senator Mitchell was instrumental in enacting the North American Free Trade Agreement. He was a champion of aid for housing, education, Americans with disabilities, and children. He led the successful 1990 reauthorization of the Clean Air Act, including new controls on acid rain toxins, and authored the first national oil spill prevention and clean-up law. As a measure of his stature among his colleagues, he was voted “the most respected member” of the Senate for six consecutive years by a bipartisan group of senior congressional aides.

Upon leaving the Senate, he returned to the practice of law and also began his work of peacemaking, negotiation, and reconciliation. He has worked tirelessly to get people around the table to end human-initiated conflict. In 1995 he was named Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State for Economic Initiatives in Ireland, and, as chairman of the International Commission on Disarmament in Northern Ireland, oversaw the subsequent peace negotiations, which culminated in the historic Good Friday agreement. He also chaired the Sharm el-Sheikh International Fact-Finding Committee to examine the crisis in the Middle East from 2000 to 2001. In 2006 he was tapped by the commissioner of baseball to investigate the use of performance-enhancing drugs, and his resulting report helped document and call attention to the problem.

Senator Mitchell has written four books: Men of Zeal: A Candid Inside Story of the Iran-Contra Hearings (with William S. Cohen, 1988), World on Fire: Saving an Endangered Earth (1991), Not for America Alone: The Triumph of Democracy and the Fall of Communism (1997), and Making Peace (1999). He is the founder of the Mitchell Institute, which provides scholarships to young people in Maine to pursue a college education. Senator Mitchell has received the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Truman Institute Peace Prize, the German Peace Prize, and the United Nations (UNESCO) Peace Prize. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999 for his work in Northern Ireland.

Youssou Ndour

Youssou Ndour is one of today’s most celebrated African musicians, widely considered to be Senegal’s preeminent cultural figure. He is a singer, songwriter, and composer, and his works and style have influenced musicians around the world. His music blends traditional rhythms of Africa with a wide range of music including Cuban samba, hip-hop, jazz, and soul. The New York Times has referred to him as “West Africa’s cultural ambassador to the world.”

Mr. Ndour was born in Dakar, Senegal, in western Africa. He began singing at neighborhood gatherings as a child and, by his mid-teens, was performing regularly with the most successful group in Senegal at the time, the Star Band. He began to gain a following for his performances of the Senegalese dance music called mbalax. Mbalax is a complex fusion of popular Western music and dance such as jazz, soul, Latin, and rock, blended with sabar, the traditional drumming and dance music of Senegal. In 1979 he formed his own group, the Étoile de Dakar, which evolved into the breakaway band Super Étoile. This group performs its own unique creations and has developed a modern African style that has had far-reaching influence.

Introduced to American audiences by Peter Gabriel on his So album and Paul Simon on Graceland, Mr. Ndour and his band subsequently began a series of collaborations with Gabriel, Simon, and other Western musicians. He released his first international album, The Lion, in 1989, and followed it with Set, in 1990. These two albums and a world tour with Gabriel established his place in the world of music and garnered notice from Rolling Stone and other music critics.

In 1991 he signed with Spike Lee’s record label and produced Eyes Open the following year, which won a Grammy nomination, further enhancing his reputation. The lyrics addressed a range of themes from media, military, unwanted childbirth, and the difficulties of African identity, all against the backdrop of what had become Mr. Ndour’s musical signature of traditional African elements blended with Caribbean, jazz, and pop music motifs.

In 2004 he released Egypt, an album of Islamic music that both celebrated Islam and advocated tolerance of the religion. Although he recorded the album prior to 9/11, he delayed its release to avoid an association between the music and the attacks. Nonetheless, the album sparked controversy when it was released, both from those who felt it was an unsuitable representation of Islamic music and from those who felt it inappropriate to promote Islam through pop culture. In the face of criticism and boycott, Mr. Ndour remained steadfast in his conviction that the music communicated a message of tolerance and peace. The album gained widespread acclaim in the international arena and won a Grammy award in 2005. A subsequent documentary about the album, Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love, followed him through two years of performances and conversations around the world.

Mr. Ndour has used his music to benefit causes about which he cares deeply. In 1985 he organized a concert for the release of Nelson Mandela. He has staged benefit events for malaria relief and has performed for Amnesty International concerts and in three Live 8 concerts. He serves as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

Sir Richard Peto

Sir Richard Peto, epidemiologist and statistician, has contributed much to the decrease in neoplastic, vascular, and respiratory mortality from smoking in the United Kingdom, the United States, and elsewhere.

Currently co-director of the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU) at the University of Oxford, Professor Peto demonstrated (in collaboration with Richard Doll) the extraordinary extent to which the hazards of persistent cigarette smoking exceed those from the aggregate of all other known causes of cancer. He also showed that for those who manage to stop smoking before age thirty or forty, the eventual long-term benefits of cessation are far greater than had previously been thought and thus has effectively argued the importance of cessation. These findings continue to have a direct influence on public policy and adult mortality in many countries.

After gaining a B.A. in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge in 1965 and an M.Sc. in statistics from the University of London in 1967, Professor Peto began to work on chronic disease epidemiology with Sir Richard Doll and Charles Fletcher. In 1976, 1994, and 2004, Professors Doll and Peto published the twenty-year, forty-year, and fifty-year follow-ups of the study of smoking and death among British doctors, and in 1981 the Journal of the U.S. National Cancer Institute published their influential report “The Causes of Cancer: Quantitative Estimates of Avoidable Risks of Cancer in the U.S. Today,” which gained worldwide attention.

Also in 1981 Professor Peto began a close collaboration with Rory Collins on large-scale randomized evidence, and since 1985 they have co-directed the CTSU, which conducts large studies of the causes and treatment of disease worldwide. During the 1980s they introduced large simple trials, collaborative meta-analyses of trials, and correction of epidemiological studies for regression dilution bias, which showed that the real importance of blood pressure and blood cholesterol concentrations had been substantially underestimated.

A major part of Professor Peto’s epidemiological work has been in China (where he co-directed a study that interviewed the families of one million people who had died during the 1980s, assessing their smoking habits), India (using similar methods), and Russia (where his large studies with David Zaridze confirming the massive mortality from alcohol have recently helped lead to effective controls).

During the 1970s Professor Peto introduced the logrank test for analyses of trials and for meta-analyses of trials, particularly those of cancer treatments. The Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group, which he founded in 1985 and still leads, regularly brings together the worldwide randomized evidence and has contributed much to evaluating and consolidating the improvements in treatment that have helped decrease U.K. and U.S. breast cancer mortality since the 1980s.

The greatest absolute mortality reductions have come, however, from his studies of the avoidable causes of chronic disease, particularly smoking. Professor Peto has won many awards, is one of the world’s most widely cited medical researchers, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1989 for meta-analyses of randomized trials, was knighted in 1999 for services to epidemiology, and received the Charles S. Mott Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation in 2002.

Janet Davison Rowley

Janet Davison Rowley is a physician and medical researcher whose work with genes has led to breakthrough understandings in the causes of leukemia, lymphoma, and other cancers. Her research revealed that cancer is a genetic disease. She is considered a pioneer in what is now called translational research, the direct application of laboratory studies to understand treating human disease. She is the Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Rowley was born in New York City and grew up in Chicago. Her parents were educators, and her mother, whom she has described as one of her mentors, encouraged her to apply for a scholarship at the University of Chicago. She enrolled there when she was fifteen, completing her last two years of high school and first two years of college simultaneously. Following graduation, she had to postpone medical school because the quota of women for that year had already been filled. When she began medical school at the University of Chicago at age twenty, she was one of only seven women in a class of sixty-five. In the early years of her career, she worked part-time, choosing to spend most of her time with her family, as she and her husband raised four sons.

Her interest in genetics began in 1961 when she received a grant to study chromosomes. As a research associate in the Department of Hematology at Chicago, she began examining chromosomal abnormalities in leukemia patients at the request of her colleagues. She spent the next decade working with chromosomes in leukemia cells, and also rose through the academic ranks, becoming an associate professor in 1969 and full professor in 1977.

In 1972 new technology helped her discover that a tiny piece of one chromosome in a leukemia cell had broken off and moved to another chromosome. She called this phenomenon translocation and went on to argue that specific translocations were the cause of specific cancers, refuting the conventional scientific wisdom of the day. Her research showed that some chromosomal segments also swapped places. She proved that this translocation was the cause of chronic myeloid leukemia, providing clear evidence that it was a cancer caused by a genetic mutation. Further research showed a similar cause of other forms of leukemia as well as follicular lymphoma. Spurred by her findings, other researchers picked up the study, and a whole new field of cancer genetics was born. Dr. Rowley’s continued research has also focused on detecting the abnormal chromosomes that characterize most infant leukemias. Her research has led to more accurate cancer diagnosis, as well as new understandings of possible treatments, including specialized drugs and targeted radiation therapies.

A proponent of stem-cell research, Dr. Rowley has contributed to the public policy debate about science. She was appointed by the first President Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics. She has been widely honored for her pioneering work, receiving the Lasker Award in 1998, the National Medal of Science in 1998, the 2009 Peter and Patricia Gruber Genetics Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, and the American Association for Cancer Research Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research in 2010.

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese is a film director, producer, and writer whose celebrated career has spanned forty years.

Mr. Scorsese was born in New York City. The grandson of Sicilian immigrants, he grew up in Little Italy on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. When he was fourteen, he entered the Cathedral College, intending to become a priest. A year later, however, he changed tracks, graduating instead from the local high school and going on to earn his bachelor’s degree in English and then a master’s in film from New York University. He began his film career while still in college, making several prize-winning short films including The Big Shave.

His interest in film dates back to childhood visits to the local cinema with his parents and brother and to time spent watching classic films on his family’s television, which was one of the first on the block. His childhood experiences informed his work and are reflected in the stories portrayed in many of his films. Mr. Scorsese has said that the vision that inspires his films emerged from early lessons about morality, loyalty, trust, and betrayal, as well as from his Catholic upbringing.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Scorsese has directed over 40 films, beginning with Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967), a semi-autobiographical tale of a young Italian-American growing up in New York City. His first Hollywood film, Boxcar Bertha (1972), led to other opportunities including Mean Streets (1973) starring Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974). These early films served to showcase the hallmarks of what would become his trademark style, a combination of documentary realism and slow-motion techniques, punctuated by a new cinematic imagination.

He has directed iconic films such as Taxi Driver (1976), which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and Raging Bull (1980), which received eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. He went on to direct The Color of Money (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Casino (1995), Kundun (1997), The Aviator (2004), and The Departed (2006). In 2002 he completed a special project, Gangs of New York, which earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Director. The Aviator (2004) won five Academy Awards in addition to the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture and BAFTA Award for Best Film. In television, Mr. Scorsese has created two Peabody Award-winning films—No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and Elia Kazan: A Letter to Elia—as well as Public Speaking, starring writer Fran Lebowitz. Set to be released in 2011 is Scorsese’s documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World as well as Hugo Cabret. He is serving as executive producer on HBO’s series Boardwalk Empire, for which he directed the pilot episode.

In addition to his work behind the camera, Mr. Scorsese is involved in the preservation and support of films both in the United States and abroad. He created the Film Foundation, an organization dedicated to film preservation in America, and the World Cinema Foundation, which helps developing countries preserve their cinematic treasures.

In addition to scores of Academy Award nominations for his films, Mr. Scorsese was the honoree at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 25th Gala Tribute (1998), and received the Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival (1995), the AFI Life Achievement Award (1997), the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award (2003), the Kennedy Center Honors (2007), and the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement (2010).

Share this with Facebook Share this with X Share this with LinkedIn Share this with Email Print this