Steven Spielberg Reveals He Was Bullied as a Child

Director admits he became ashamed of his Judaism as a result of the constant taunting he endured

By Peter Gicas Oct 22, 2012 5:14 PMTags
Steven SpielbergFrazer Harrison/Getty Images

Steven Spielberg has opened up about his younger years and the bullying he endured that would later influence many of his films.

"I was a nerd in those days. Outsider," the director admitted during an interview that aired on Sunday's 60 Minutes. "Like the kid that played the clarinet in the band and orchestra, which I did."

Spielberg's mom, who also spoke to the CBS TV news magazine, revealed that the Spielbergs lived in a non-Jewish neighborhood and that folks would often yell out, "The Spielbergs are dirty Jews."

As a result of the constant taunting, the man behind such classics as Jaws, E.T. and Schindler's List said that for a long time he "denied" his Judaism.

"I often told people my last name was German, not Jewish," the Oscar winner shared. "I'm sure my grandparents are rolling over in their graves right now, hearing me say that."

As a teenager, though, Spielberg discovered the craft that would eventually change his life, and that of moviegoers, forever.

"I had found a way to accept myself in my own life by making movies," he said. "I found that I could do something well."

Spielberg's latest film, Lincoln, opens Nov. 16.