August 8, 1963
New York City, New York, United States
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After completing studies at Wesleyan University and a master's degree from the USC film school, Turteltaub, son of veteran TV writer-producer Saul Turteltaub, gained some experience on the small screen. He worked on several ABC specials and pilots and was involved briefly with the Nickelodeon sitcom, "Salute Your Shorts." In 1990 Turteltaub made his feature writing and directorial debut, "Think Big," and followed up with another minor action comedy, "Driving Me Crazy" (1991), which he also co-wrote.Turteltaub began a successful collaboration with Disney Studios and had a surprisingly popular film on his hands with "3 Ninjas" (1992), a routine but harmless children's comedy adventure which marked a breakthrough collaboration between the US and South Korea in the production of a film. Action and comedy met once again for Turteltaub in his next film, the sleeper smash "Cool Runnings" (1992). Word of mouth helped sell this feel-good comedy about a Jamaican bobsled team, and the same audience response helped propel his Disney follow-up, the less boisterous romantic comedy, "While You Were Sleeping" (1995), which fully established Sandra Bullock as a film star and Bill Pullman as a romantic lead. While his first batch of films had been fun, but some might say frothy, Turteltaub took on a film with a slightly more substantial center with "Phenomenon" (1996), in which John Travolta played a man struck by lightning who not only becomes a genius because of it, but learns about humanity as well.