Birthplace: New York City
When it came time for sending her only child off to college, Barry Sonnenfeld's mother made her views clear. If he went to—as she put it—“sleep-away school,” she would commit suicide. So, he stayed close to home, attending NYU for college, and the NYU Institute of Film and Television for graduate school. He met up with the Coen brothers and was asked to be the cinematographer for their first film, Blood Simple (1984), and later for their films Raising Arizona (1987) and Miller's Crossing (1990). He also worked with Penny Marshall in Big (1988), and her former husband Rob Reiner in When Harry Met Sally…(1989) and Misery (1990) before venturing out into directing his first feature, The Addams Family (1991) and its sequel Addams Family Values (1993). His biggest hit has been with Men In Black (1997), which retains his quirky and humorous, though occasionally macabre, vision seen in the Addams films. His work also includes comedies, such as the Michael J. Fox film For Love or Money (1993) and the adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel, Get Shorty (1995). He worked in television directing the short-lived Beau Bridges series Maximum Bob (1998), and re-teamed with Will Smith for The Wild Wild West (1999) and Men In Black 2.