Davis Guggenheim

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Davis Guggenheim
Philip Davis Guggenheim

(1963-11-03) November 3, 1963 (age 56)
Alma materBrown University (1986)
OccupationFilm director, television director, film producer, television producer
Years active1991–present
Spouse(s)Elisabeth Shue (m. 1994)

Philip Davis Guggenheim (born November 3, 1963) is an American film and television director and producer. His credits include NYPD Blue, ER, 24, Alias, The Shield, Deadwood, and the documentaries An Inconvenient Truth, The Road We've Traveled, Waiting for "Superman" and He Named Me Malala. Since 2006, Guggenheim is the only filmmaker to release three different documentaries that were ranked within the top 100 highest-grossing documentaries of all time (An Inconvenient Truth, It Might Get Loud, and Waiting for "Superman").[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born Philip Davis Guggenheim in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, the son of Marion Davis (née Streett) and film director and producer Charles Guggenheim.[2] His father was Jewish, whereas his mother was Episcopalian.[3][4][5] He graduated from the Potomac School (McLean, Virginia) (1979), from Sidwell Friends School (1982), and from Brown University (1986).


Guggenheim joined the HBO Western drama Deadwood as a producer and director for the first season in 2004. The series was created by David Milch and focused on a growing town in the American West. Guggenheim directed the episodes "Deep Water",[6] "Reconnoitering the Rim",[7] "Plague"[8] and "Sold Under Sin".[9] Guggenheim left the crew at the end of Season 1.

The pilot episode of The Unit was directed by Guggenheim.

The documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, was produced and directed by Davis Guggenheim. An Inconvenient Truth won the Academy Award in 2007 for Best Documentary Feature. The film, released in 2006, featured Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and his international slideshow on global warming. Guggenheim's goal was to shine a bright light on a subject that critics brushed off as nothing more than an exaggeration or a hoax.

Then-Candidate for President Barack Obama's biographical film, which aired during the Democratic National Convention in August 2008, was directed by Guggenheim. The Guggenheim-directed Obama infomercial, which was broadcast on October 29, 2008, was "executed with high standards of cinematography", according to The New York Times.[10] In 2012, he released The Road We've Traveled, a 17-minute short film on the president.[11]

Davis Guggenheim directed and was an executive producer of the 2009 pilot for Melrose Place. His brother-in-law Andrew Shue starred on the 1990s version of the series.

In 2008, he released It Might Get Loud, a documentary that glimpses into the lives of guitarists Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White.

Guggenheim's 2010 documentary Waiting for "Superman", a film about the failures of American public education sparked controversy and debate. Guggenheim knew his film would lead to this and said, "I know people will say this movie is anti-this or pro-that. But it really is all about families trying to find great schools".[12] This film received the Audience Award for best documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Its public release was in September 2010.

A documentary film about the band U2 directed by Guggenheim titled From the Sky Down opened the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival in September.[13]

Guggenheim directed the television pilot Widow Detective for CBS in 2012, but the pilot was not picked up by the network.

In 2013, he directed a 30-minute documentary "The Dream is Now". It tells the stories of undocumented youth and their families who are desperate to earn their citizenship in the only country they've ever called home. The film follows the lives of 4 undocumented students in the United States as they deal with the U.S. immigration system.

In 2015, he directed a documentary film He Named Me Malala about a young Pakistani female activist Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by Taliban gunmen, shot in the head and left wounded.[14]

In 2019, he created and directed a documentary miniseries titled Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. The series explores the mind and motivations behind the captain of industry and philanthropist Bill Gates, the rise of Microsoft, and the past and current pursuits of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Personal life[edit]

Davis married actress Elisabeth Shue in 1994. The couple have three children: Miles William (1997), Stella Street (2001), and Agnes Charles Guggenheim (2006).[15][16]


  1. ^ "Documentary Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
  2. ^ Who's who in entertainment: Volume 1. Marquis Who's Who. 1989. p. 256. ISBN 0837918502.
  3. ^ "In Dual-Faith Families Children Sturggle [sic] For a Spiritual Home". The New York Times. August 18, 1988.
  4. ^ "New on the big screen, Bad news, good news, Passings | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California". Jweekly.com. October 7, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  5. ^ "In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary" by Penelope Poulou, Voice of America, 9 October 2015
  6. ^ Davis Guggenheim (director), Malcolm MacRury (writer) (March 28, 2004). "Deep Water". Deadwood. Season 1. Episode 2. HBO.
  7. ^ Davis Guggenheim (director), Jody Worth (writer) (April 4, 2004). "Reconnoitering the Rim". Deadwood. Season 1. Episode 3. HBO.
  8. ^ Davis Guggenheim (director), Malcolm MacRury (writer) (April 25, 2004). "Plague". Deadwood. Season 1. Episode 6. HBO.
  9. ^ Davis Guggenheim (director), Ted Mann (writer) (June 13, 2004). "Sold Under Sin". Deadwood. Season 1. Episode 12. HBO.
  10. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (October 29, 2008). "The Ad Campaign: An Obama Infomercial, Big, Glossy and Almost Unavoidable". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  11. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (March 9, 2012). "Obama Documentary 'The Road We've Traveled' By Davis Guggenheim Reveals Trailer (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  12. ^ Ripley, A. (2010). A Call to Action for Public Schools. (Cover story). Time, 176(12), 32–42.
  13. ^ "U2 documentary to open Toronto Film Festival". BBC News. July 27, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  14. ^ Gerard, Jeremy (March 30, 2015). "Fox Searchlight Picks Up 'He Named Me Malala' About Youngest Nobel Winner". deadline.com. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  15. ^ "Davis Guggenheim". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  16. ^ "Elizabeth Shue". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved July 2, 2017.

External links[edit]