Terrence Malick was born in Ottawa, Illinois. His family subsequently lived in Oklahoma and he went to school in Austin, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1965.A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, he attended Magdalen College, Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, but did not finish his thesis on Martin Heidegger, allegedly because of a disagreement with his adviser. Returning to the States, he taught philosophy at M.I.T. and published a translation of Heidegger's "Vom Wesen des Grundes" as "The Essence of Reasons".Malick did not get his PhD in philosophy: Instead, he attended the American Film Institute Conservatory in its inaugural year (1969), taking a Masters of Fine Arts degree in film making. His masters thesis was the 17-minute comedy short Lanton Mills (1969), which starred Warren Oates and Harry Dean Stanton. Malick himself acted in the short, a tradition he has maintained throughout his career, appearing in many of his films in cameos.At AFI, Malick made a lasting association with Jack Fisk, who would establish himself as an Oscar-nominated art director and production designer and serve as art director on four of his seven films. He also picked up Mike Medavoy as an agent, who got Malick work doctoring scripts and marketed his originals. He wrote the screenplay for the 1972 Alan Arkin trucker movie Deadhead Miles (1973), which was many miles from Harvard let along Oxford, and for the 1972 Paul Newman-Lee Marvin contemporary oater Pocket Money (1972), another departure from fields of academia. "Deadhead Miles" was dumped by Paramount as unreleasable and "Pocket Money", despite being headlined by two Top Ten Box Office stars, flopped.It was an inauspicious start to a legendary career, but it influenced Malick to begin directing his own scripts.Like Orson Welles, he produced two masterpieces with the first two feature films he directed, Badlands (1973) (1973) and Days of Heaven (1978) (1978). He then took a very un-Wellesian self-imposed layoff of 20 years from film making before lensing his 1998 adaptation of James Jones's The Thin Red Line (1998), which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including nods for Malick for directing and adapted screenplay.Adopting a Kubrickian-pace of movie making, he created The New World (2005) (2005) and the allegorical The Tree of Life (2011) (2011) with layoffs of only seven and six years, respectively. However, he reportedly was working on "The Tree of Life" for 30 years, including exposing footage that found its way into his finished film.In an unprecedented burst of productivity, he shot his next two films, Voyage of Time (2013) and an To the Wonder (2012), back-to-back immediately after completing the long editing process of "Tree of Life". Both movies are in the post-production phase as of 2012. Like Stanley Kubrick, Malick can take over a year to edit a film, so the release dates of both pictures are speculative. Both are highly anticipated by cinéastes the world over.