|Born||Michael Cormac Newell
28 March 1942
St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England
Newell was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, the son of amateur actors. Newell was educated at St Albans School and Magdalene College, Cambridge. He then attended a three year training course at Granada Television, with the intention of entering the theatre.
Newell directed various British TV shows from the 1960s onwards (Such as Spindoe (1968), credited as Cormac Newell, and Big Breadwinner Hog). However, he eventually graduated into film direction and then he went on to make the horror film The Awakening (1980) and Bad Blood (1981) about a New Zealand mass murderer.
His first film was The Man in the Iron Mask (1977), made for TV. His first critically acclaimed movie was Dance with a Stranger (1985), a biographical drama starring Miranda Richardson as Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Great Britain. For his directing efforts, Newell won the Award of the Youth at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.
Newell continued his successes in the film industry with Enchanted April (1992), an adaptation of the 1922 novel The Enchanted April; Miranda Richardson received a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical and Joan Plowright won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy/Musical.
The comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) was also critically acclaimed – it won numerous awards, including a César Award (Best Foreign Film), a Golden Globe (Best Actor - Hugh Grant), and a number of London Critics Circle Film Awards (Best Director, Film, Producer, and Screenwriter).
Since these award-winning productions, Newell has directed a number of films in Hollywood, such as Donnie Brasco (1997) (starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp), Pushing Tin (1999) (starring John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, and Angelina Jolie), and Mona Lisa Smile (2003) (starring Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, and Julia Stiles).
In 2005, Newell became the first British director of the Harry Potter film series, on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The previous directors in the series, Chris Columbus and Alfonso Cuarón, were American and Mexican, respectively. The film was the fourth installment of the series and was a major success worldwide. Newell is heard briefly as the voice of the radio announcer at the beginning of the film.