Steven was born in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio to a Jewish American family, the eldest of four children (sisters: Anne, Sue and Nancy). His father Arnold was an Electrical Engineer, and his mother, Leah Adler, was a concert pianist. His parents divorced and his mother remarried. He attended California State University, to study English.
Steven made his first film, Firelight, when he was 16, and persuaded a local cinema to run it for an evening. At 23, he impressed Universal Studios with Amblin, and they hired him. He started working on television, before making his first cinema release in 1974 (The Sugarland Express). His second big screen movie, Jaws was, however, the first of 70s blockbusters.
He continued to make popular movies, such as Indiana Jones, E.T., before moving into more serious fare such as The Colour Purple and the Academy-award winning Schindler's List.
In 1994, he wet up Dreamworks SKG with Devid Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Steven was married to actress Amy for four years (27 November 1985 - 1989), and since October 12 1991, he has been married to actress Kate Capshaw. With Amy, Steven has a son (Max), and with Kate he has has five children: Sasha, Sawyer, Theo (adopted), Mikaela (adopted), Jessica (step daughter) and Destry Allyn.