director, producer, writer, actress
Born August 17, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Martha Patterson Coolidge was born on August 17, 1946 in New Haven Connecticut. She studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design, but changed majors, becoming the first film major at the school. She attended and graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she received her Master's degree in Fine Arts. Coolidge's diverse project range has given her a reputation for eclectic taste. Among a long list of working with Hollywood's finest, Coolidge also discovered great talents like Nicolas Cage (Valley Girl (1983)), Val Kilmer (Real Genius (1985)) and James Gandolfini (Angie (1994)). In addition to working with talented artists, Coolidge has received many awards for her work. Recognition has included a Best Director "Spirit" Award from the Independent Feature Project West, the "Crystal Award" from Women in Film, the Maverick Award from the LeFemme Film Festival, the distinguished "Robert Aldrich Award" from the Directors Guild of America, the "Breakthrough Award" from Women, Men & Media, and "Lifetime Achievement Awards" from Methodfest, the Dallas Film Festival, a "Big Bear" from the Big Bear Film Festival and the "Award for Artist Excellence in Film" from Rhode Island School of Design. She has been inducted into the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame and the Museum of Television and Radio, and also helped found the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, Inc. and the IFP. An avid horsewoman. Ms. Coolidge breeds and shows Paso Fino horses and holds several National Championship titles. She is married to the award-winning production designer James H. Spencer and has one son, Preston, named in honor of one of her idols, playwright and film director Preston Sturges.