Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese film director who died in 1998. His most famous work, in the West at least, was probably The Seven Samurai upon which The Magnificent Seven was based. Known as the "Sensei Of Cinema", Kurosawa has probably had more influence on filmmaking than any director in the second half of the twentieth century and many of today's best filmmakers, such as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorcese, agree that he has directly influenced their work.
Kurosawa was born on March 23 1910 in Ohi-machi, Tokyo the youngest of his parents' nine children. Aspiring to be a painter, Kurosawa took the entrance exam for an art-school but was rejected. Turning instead to film, he joined PCL and started his film career at the age of 26 when he was made third assistant director for Shigeo Yano's film Shojohanazono. Having moved up the film-making hierarchy, Kurosawa wrote his first screenplay, Mizuno Jurozaemon, in 1940, directed his first film, Sugata Sanshiro in 1943, and continued with a steady output of films until 1993. Akira Kurosawa married Kayo Kato in 1945 and their first son was born later that year. In 1948, Kurosawa experienced a personal tragedy when his father died followed by his mother only a few years later but in spite of his personal unhappiness Kurosawa went on to film Rashomon in 1950 and The Seven Samurai in 1954 to great critical acclaim. In 1959, he even established his own company, Kurosawa Productions. During his lifetime Kurosawa received many awards such as the Silver Lion and the Lion of Lions at Venice as well as being decorated by President Tito of Yugoslavia. When he died Kurosawa was one of the most famous and influential directors Japan had ever produced.