Brian Russell De Palma (born September 11, 1940) is an American film director and writer. In a career spanning over 40 years, he is probably best known for his suspense and crime thriller films, including such box office successes as Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Scarface, The Untouchables, and Mission: Impossible.
Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, De Palma worked repeatedly with actors Jennifer Salt, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen (his wife from 1979 to 1983), Gary Sinise, John Lithgow, William Finley, Charles Durning, Gerrit Graham, cinematographers Stephen H. Burum and Vilmos Zsigmond (see List of noted film director and cinematographer collaborations), set designer Jack Fisk, and composers Bernard Herrmann and Pino Donaggio. De Palma is credited with fostering the careers of or outright discovering Robert De Niro, Jill Clayburgh, John C. Reilly, John Leguizamo, Andy Garcia and Margot Kidder.
De Palma, whose background is Italian Roman Catholic, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Vivienne (née Muti) and Anthony Frederick De Palma, an orthopedic surgeon. He was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire in various Protestant and Quaker schools, eventually graduating from Friends' Central School. He won a regional science-fair prize for a project titled "An Analog Computer to Solve Differential Equations".