Michael Apted was born in England in 1941 and studied law and history at Cambridge University. He began his career as a researcher at Granada Television, and within a few years, became established as a television director and investigative reporter on the news series World in Action and subsequently began directing episodes of Britain's long-running series Coronation Street, ITV Playhouse, and Play for Today.
In more than forty-five years as a director, Apted has helmed an extensive list of feature films and documentaries. His feature films include Triple Echo (1972), Stardust (1974), The Squeeze (1977), Agatha (1979), Coal Miner’s Daughter, marking his first directing project in the United States, Continental Divide (1981), Gorky Park (1983), Gorillas in the Mist (1988), Class Action (1991), Thunderheart (1992), Nell, The World is Not Enough (1999), Enigma (2001), Enough (2002), Amazing Grace (2006), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010), and most recently, Unlocked (2016).
His documentary credits include Bring on the Night (1985), Incident at Oglala (1992), Me and Isaac Newton (1999), Moving the Mountain (1994), and Married in America (2003). But among Apted's most widely recognized documentary directorial achievements are his internationally acclaimed, multi-award winning sequels based on the original Seven UP! documentary -- 7 Plus Seven, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, and 56 UP -- which have followed the lives of 14 Britons since the age of seven in seven-year increments. Along with his feature and documentary work, Apted has also directed episodic series, including Rome, Ray Donovan, and Masters of Sex.
Apted has received numerous awards and nominations for his extensive body of work including a Grammy, three BAFTA Awards, the International Documentary Association’s highest honor, the IDA Career Achievement Award, and two DGA Awards nominations for the PBS production of Harold Pinter’s The Collection in 1978, Coal Miner’s Daughter in 1980, and a win in 2006 for the pilot episode of Rome.
Apted served as president of the DGA from 2003-2009 and has served as the secretary-treasurer since 2011. He is also a trustee of the Directors Guild Foundation and former member of the Western Independent Directors Committee. For his extensive Guild involvement, Apted was awarded the Robert B. Aldrich Award for extraordinary service to the DGA and its membership in 2013.