Starting his career in theatre, Mendes directed several plays before moving into film in 1999.
In celebration of the release of Skyfall, we take a look at ten things about Sam Mendes.
1. Samuel Alexander Mendes was born on August 1, 1965 in Reading, England. His mother Valerie was a children's author, his father Jameson was a university professor, and his grandfather is famed Trinidadian writer Alfred H Mendes. He attended Cambridge University where he got a first in English and directed several plays.
2. After he graduated he was hired by the Chichester Festival Theatre where he directed Judi Dench in The Cherry Orchard. He then went on to direct plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, and in 1992 became artistic director at the Donmar Warehouse, a position which he kept for ten years.
3. His movie directorial debut came in 1999 with American Beauty, starring Kevin Spacey. The film grossed $356.3 million worldwide and won five Academy Awards including 'Best Picture' and 'Best Director'.
4. Mendes married Kate Winslet in 2003 but they divorced in 2010. They have a son Joe together, and he is also stepfather to Kate's daughter Mia Honey from Winslet's marriage to Jim Threapleton.
5. He was scheduled to fly on the American Airlines Flight 77 which was hijacked on September 11, 2001, and which subsequently crashed into the Pentagon. He and Kate Winslet have agreed to never take the same flight as each other in case something similar happens and their children are left orphaned.
6. In 2008, Mendes directed Revolutionary Road starring then-wife Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. It was the first film that they had starred in together since 1997's Titanic.
7. He was made a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2000 for services to drama and in 2005 was awarded the Directors Guild 'Lifetime Achievement Award'.
8. Mendes's production company Neal Street Productions made the first series of BBC One drama Call the Midwife, and they are producing the second series, due early 2013. Mendes is also due to direct a new stage adaptation of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, opening at the London Palladium in June 2013.
9. Skyfall has broken UK box office records, securing the biggest seven-day gross of all time to overtake last year's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. The film has taken a total of £37.2 million in its opening week.
10. Sam Mendes's awards: His movies have won a total of six Academy Awards, eight BAFTAs and four Golden Globes. His stage work has won him three prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards and three Critics' Circle Theatre Awards.