Stephen Arthur Frears (born 20 June 1941) is a two-time Academy Award-nominated English film director.
Frears was born and raised in Leicester, England, the son of Ruth M., a social worker, and Dr. Russell E. Frears, a general practitioner and accountant. He did not find out that his mother was Jewish until he was in his late 20s. Educated at Gresham's School, Norfolk, from 1954 to 1959, he went on to study law at Trinity College, Cambridge, between 1960 and 1963.
After graduating from Cambridge, he worked as an assistant director on Morgan! (1966) and if.... (1968), but most of his early career was spent in television mainly for the BBC, but also for the commercial sector. He contributed to several high profile anthology series such as the BBC's Play for Today, and produced a series of Alan Bennett's plays for LWT, taking responsibility for working in the gallery on The Old Crowd while Lindsay Anderson worked with the actors.