Chris Columbus (filmmaker)

Chris Columbus (filmmaker)
Chris Columbus
Born Christopher Joseph Columbus
September 10, 1958 (1958-09-10) (age 53)
Spangler, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation Screenwriter, producer, director
Years active 1984–present
Spouse Monica Devereux (1983–present)

Christopher Joseph "Chris" Columbus[1] (born September 10, 1958) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Columbus had his largest success with the first two films in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, along with Home Alone, the last receiving a British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Film.


Early life

Columbus was born in Spangler, Pennsylvania and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, the son of Mary Irene (née Puskar), a factory worker, and Alex Michael Columbus, an aluminum plant worker and coal miner.[2][3][4] Columbus is of Italian and Czech descent.[5] He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio and from New York University's film school at the Tisch School of the Arts. There he was a schoolmate of Charlie Kaufman.[6]


Columbus worked as a screenwriter with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, working on Gremlins (1984), The Goonies (1985) and Young Sherlock Holmes (1985). He wrote the first episodes of the animated series Galaxy High (1986) and later made his directorial debut with the teen comedy Adventures in Babysitting (1987) and Heartbreak Hotel (1988).

His directorial work includes Home Alone (1990), Only the Lonely (1991), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Nine Months (1995), Stepmom (1998), Bicentennial Man (1999), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Rent (2005), I Love You Beth Cooper (2009) and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010).

Columbus founded his production company named 1492 Pictures in 1995, intended as a play to Columbus's more famous namesake, Christopher Columbus.

Success and criticism

The character types preferred by Columbus are the everyday American men, women and children who struggle to uphold family traditions against a changing, sometimes intimidating society.[2] In 1993 he said: "I can understand the validity of showing people the ugliness of the world, but I also think there is a place for movies to leave people with a sense of hope. If your film isn't going to do that, I just don't think it's worth making."[2]

Personal life

Columbus married Monica Devereux in 1983, with whom he had four children: Eleanor, Violet, Brendan, and Isabella. Brendan is friends with Timothy Taylor who studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Columbus lives in San Francisco's Pacific Heights, where his children attend or previously attended Saint Ignatius College Preparatory. He donated money to the school for a new building, which is named after him.

Many of Columbus's family members—including his children, his wife, his father-in-law and his cousin Robert Ayres—have appeared in cameo roles in his films.


Year Title Writer Producer Director
1984 Reckless
1985 The Goonies
Young Sherlock Holmes
1986 Galaxy High
1987 Adventures in Babysitting
1988 Heartbreak Hotel
1989 Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland
1990 Home Alone
1991 Only the Lonely
1992 Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
1993 Mrs. Doubtfire
1995 Nine Months
1996 Jingle All the Way
1998 Stepmom
1999 Bicentennial Man
2001 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Christmas with the Kranks
2005 Fantastic Four
2006 Night at the Museum
2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
2009 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
I Love You, Beth Cooper
2010 Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
2011 The Help


External links

Preceded by
Harry Potter film director
Succeeded by
Alfonso Cuarón

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