Their company was eventually sold to Disney for about £50million in 1993 in a deal that saw Harvey and Bob retain responsibility for the day-to-day running of Miramax.
The brothers’ success was founded on an ability to turn low budget art-house movies, such as Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare In Love, into mainstream hits.
Over the next decade Weinstein made his name with a streak of hits, resulting in at least one Oscar nomination each year, before a huge bust-up with Disney.
The brothers eventually stormed off to launch The Weinstein Company in 2005.
Weinstein’s volcanic temper and bullying became legendary in Hollywood.
Bizarrely, he once claimed that his anger issues were due to consuming too much sugar. Matters went much deeper than boorishness, however, and it is now apparent that Weinstein was spiralling out of control, with no checks in place.
It has emerged that Weinstein and his aides used a combination of non-disclosure agreements, pay-offs and mob-style intimidation to suppress the abuse claims.
Payments were made to at least eight women but the money meant little to Weinstein, whose fortune has been put at more than £150million.
Some of the allegations date from up to three decades ago and Weinstein must have felt he was untouchable.
He once said of Hollywood in an expletive-laden outburst: “I’m the sheriff in this town.”
Until now no one felt able to speak out or stand up to him and the industry has a long history, from the times of the silent movies, of brushing sexual misdemeanours under the red carpet.
Actresses Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow are among those to have now alleged they were victims of the film producer. Young actresses and female employees were terrified of Weinstein because of his power to make or break careers and his sheer physical presence.
He was surrounded by yes-men and despite stories of his appalling behaviour being rife in the industry, senior figures queued up to laud the producer.
It is said that during acceptance speeches at the Oscars, Harvey Weinstein has been thanked more times than God.
His personal relationships have been complex.
Despite a long and very successful working partnership with brother Bob, who is much quieter and prefers to stay in the background, there have always been tensions.
Since the harassment allegations broke there have been suggestions that it was Bob who was the main source of the New York Times story that triggered the film producer’s downfall.
Georgina Chapman has left Harvey Weinstein, taking their two children
It is claimed Bob could no longer tolerate his sibling’s outrageous behaviour, prompting one Tinseltown gossip column to claim: “It’s Cain and Abel, Hollywood style, Harvey Weinstein may have been stabbed in the back by his own brother.”
His first wife was Eve Chilton, who met the producer while she was working as an assistant for Miramax in the mid-1980s. Eve, who comes from a wealthy New England family, hated being in the limelight and never gave interviews.
Details of the divorce settlement in 2004 were kept secret and she later remarried. It is said that Eve was a calming influence on Weinstein, although it has also been pointed out that many of the sexual harassment incidents happened when she was pregnant or soon after their three children were born.
Weinstein is said to have bragged that he slept with other women during his first marriage and that Eve was “OK with it”.
Weinstein married British fashion designer Georgina Chapman, 41, in 2007.
Young actresses and female employees were terrified of Weinstein
She has described his actions as “unforgivable” and stated that her “heart breaks for the women involved”.
She has left him, taking their two children. While Weinstein was preying on vulnerable women he was supporting good causes and surrounding himself with powerful allies, including Barack Obama and the Clintons.
He also championed the careers of legendary actresses including Dame Judi Dench and Meryl Streep, all adding to his aura of invincibility.
Weinstein is said to be devastated that his former friends and allies are now scrambling to distance themselves from him.
The former kingmaker has become the pariah of Hollywood.