Known for the Oscar-winning movies like Crash (2005) and Million Dollar Baby (2004), Paul Haggis is a film director, screenwriter, and producer from Canada. He is the first Canadian screenwriter and producer to win Academy Awards consecutively for two years. Paul is the founder of Artists for Peace and Justice, a non-profit organization that works for the impoverished youth in Haiti.
Paul Haggis’s Early Life
Haggis was born on the 10th of March 1953, in London, Ontario, Canada in a Catholic Christian family. His parents were Edward and Mary Haggis. They owned a theater called The Gallery Theater in London. This provided Haggis an opportunity to explore the world of theater from quite a young age.
Paul did his school from St. Thomas More Elementary School in his hometown. He discovered cinema while he was in his school and was very much inspired by the master director Alfred Hitchcock and one of the founders of the French New wave, Jean-Luc Godard. So, he went to H. B. Beal Secondary School in order to study art. The film that changed his life was Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup, a film that released in 1966. After watching the film, he made up his mind to become a fashion photographer and hence, went to England. Paul joined Fanshawe College to study cinematography after returning to Canada.
At the age of 22, Paul decided to join the entertainment industry and hence, moved to California in 1975. He started his career as a writer. He wrote several TV series in the early years of his career. His first project as a writer was The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show that aired in 1979. Paul got his break in the feature film industry in 1993 after almost two decades of his struggle. He wrote Red Hot which was his first feature film.
Paul Haggis’s Career
Paul has written more than 45 feature films, TV series, TV movies, and even video games. He has also directed 13 films and worked on 21 projects as a producer. Some of his famous works include Due South (1994) Thirtysomething (1987), The Tracey Ullman Show (1987), and The Black Donnellys (2007). He has won the Academy Award twice as a writer.
Career as a Writer
Paul started his career as a TV series writer. His body of work as a writer includes many good TV series and feature films like Million Dollar Baby directed by Clint Eastwood. Eastwood also played the lead in the film. The film won four Academy Awards. It won the best picture award and got Eastwood the award for best director. A year later, Paul came with another great film Crash which he also directed. It got great reception all over the world and the Pulitzer Award-winning critic Roger Ebert called it “the best film of 2005”. The film got six Academy Award nominations including the nominations for Best Picture, the Best Director, and the best original screenplay. It got Paul two Oscars, as the screenwriter and the producer. This was his consecutive second win as a screenwriter.
Paul said that he believes most racial problems has already been resolved. Crash was his attempt to “bust liberals”, as he thought they were not honest with themselves and racism.
Career as a Director
Paul debuted as a director in the year 1990, directing an episode of a TV mini-series. However, it took him three more years to direct a feature film. In 1993, he directed his first feature film Red Hot which he also wrote the screenplay for. After that, he directed several TV series until 2004. In 2005, his best film to date as a director came out. The film was titled Crash. It got him the Academy Award both as a producer and writer.
Career as a Producer
Paul has been working as a producer since 1986, producing more than two dozens of feature films, TV series, and TV movies. He has two Academy Awards as a producer which he won for producing Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Crash (2005). Paul produced his other feature films like Next Three Days (2010) and Third Person (2013).
Paul Haggis’s Personal Life
Although Paul was raised in a Christian Catholic family, he said he was an atheist in Dan Rather’s AXS TV interview. However, he joined the Church of Scientology for some period in the middle. But later, he denounced it as a cult and left it. He is 183 cm tall and currently lives Haggis lives in Santa Monica, California.
He was married to Diana Gettas and has three daughters from her. Later they divorced and Paul married Deborah Rennard as his second wife and has one son from her.
Paul has more than 17.5 thousand followers on his twitter account and about 14 thousand followers on his Instagram. However, he is not available on Facebook.
Paul Haggis Net Worth
Paul has been in the entertainment industry for more than three decades by now. His estimated net worth is $ 80, million.