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Walter F. Parkes (né Walter Fishman) is an Americanmarker film producer, writer and former studio head.


For the last fourteen years Parkes has been associated with DreamWorksmarker Pictures, which he ran from its inception in 1994 until 2005. A three-time Academy Award nominee as both producer and screenwriter, his most recent movies include The Kite Runner and Golden Globe-winning Sweeney Todd. Other films produced or executive produced by Mr. Parkes include, the Men In Black series, Gladiator, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, The Ring, The Terminal, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Road to Perdition, A.I., Deep Impact, Twister, The Legend of Zorro and Amistad.

Parkes graduated from Yale College cum laude in 1973, and then studied communications and documentary film at Stanford Universitymarker where he began his first feature length film, a documentary about the rebirth of the Nazi party in America, The California Reich. The film was nominated for an Oscar and was a special selection at the Cannes Film Festivalmarker. His next film, WarGames, in collaboration with Lawrence Lasker ’71, garnered a “Best Original Screenplay” Oscar nomination. Parkes and Lasker co-produced several films, including Sneakers and Awakenings, a Best Picture Oscar nominee in 1990.

In 1994, Parkes was named President of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and later that year, he and his wife and business partner Laurie MacDonald were tapped to help create the DreamWorks SKG motion picture studio. As the studio’s president, Parkes, in partnership with Laurie MacDonald, oversaw development and production of all DreamWorks’ film projects, including, for only the second time in the history of the Motion Picture Academy, three consecutive Best Picture Oscar winners: American Beauty, Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind -- the latter two in partnership with Universal Studios. Other critical and commercial successes produced during their tenure include: Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, Robert ZemeckisWhat Lies Beneath, Adam McKay’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Michael Mann’s Collateral, and Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning drama Saving Private Ryan, which was the top-grossing film domestically of 1998.

Parkes is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Writers Guild of America and the Global Business Network. He is the president of Yale’s University Council, which advises President Richard Levin and the other officers about selected academic and administrative issues. Other non-profit activities include serving on the boards of Para Los Niños Charter School which provides services for the children of the working poor of Downtown Los Angelesmarker, and the Starbright Foundation, an organization that develops and provides products and services for chronically sick children.

Parkes and his wife live in Santa Monica, Californiamarker, and have two children.


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