Stephen Frears is a British film director. He was born on June 20, 1941 in Leicester, England to an Anglican father and a Jewish mother. His initial career was in television where he contributed to several high-profile series such as the BBC's Play for Today. But in the mid-1980s he came to prominence as an important director of British and later American films.
His first film was the 1972 Gumshoe. But it was his production of the one-off drama My Beautiful Laundrette for Channel 4 in 1985 that led to his notice as a capable film director when the production was released theatrically to great acclaim.
Frears next directed another successful British film, the Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears in 1987, and the following year he made his Hollywood debut with Dangerous Liaisons. Frears had another critical success with The Grifters but suffered a major box office disappointment with Hero, starring Dustin Hoffman. He also suffered the ignomy of being nominated for a Razzie Award for his direction of Mary Reilly, released in 1996.
He has since directed a number of successful films in both Britain and America, including The Hi-Lo Country (1998), High Fidelity (2000), Dirty Pretty Things (2003) and Mrs. Henderson Presents starring Judy Dench and Bob Hoskins.
In recent years he has also occasionally returned to directing for television, perhaps most notably helming The Deal, a dramatised account of the alleged deal between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to decide which of them should become leader of the Labour Party in 1994, for Channel 4 in 2003.
Frears teaches frequently at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, England. He lives in London with his wife, the painter Anne Rothenstein, and his two younger children Frankie and Lola. He also has two children from his previous marriage to Mary-Kay Wilmers.