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The Road to Memphis
Richard Pearce Director Biography
Richard Pearce made his feature film directorial debut with the period drama Heartland, which earned the Golden Bear (grand prize) at the Berlin Film Festival and opened the New York Film Festival's first look at American Independents in 1981. Other films of Pearce's include Country, which garnered Jessica Lange an Academy Award nomination; the highly praised, racially-charged drama The Long Walk Home, which paired Whoopi Goldberg with Sissy Spacek; Leap of Faith, with Steve Martin, Debra Winger, and Liam Neeson; No Mercy, starring Richard Gere and Kim Basinger; and A Family Thing, with Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones. For television, Pearce earned an Emmy nomination for his work on the ABC mini-series The Final Days, an examination of the last days of the Nixon presidency. His film for HBO, Witness Protection, starring Tom Sizemore and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, was nominated for a Golden Globe. Other television projects include the pilots for Fox's Party of Five and ABC's Nothing Sacred (which won a Peabody Award), and the three-hour television musical South Pacific for ABC/Disney, which starred Glenn Close and Harry Connick Jr.

Pearce began his professional career in the late 1960s as a cinematographer, and in that regard his credits include three Oscar-winning documentaries, Woodstock, Marjoe, and Interviews with My Lai Veterans . His final documentary project before moving into directing feature films was the acclaimed Vietnam War feature documentary Hearts and Minds directed by Peter Davis. For over a year and a half, Pearce served as both cinematographer and associate producer on the controversial film, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and won an Academy Award.

Pearce was raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and earned his undergraduate degree in English Literature at Yale, where he met renowned documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker. He then moved to New York City to work with Pennebaker and Richard Leacock on several documentaries. While in New York he attended New York University's Film School and earned an M.A. in Political Economics from the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research.


 

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