LAWRENCE KASDAN Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


Biography » theater opera and movie personalities » lawrence kasdan


Name: Lawrence Kasdan                                                               
Born: 14 January 1949 Miami, Florida                                               
Lawrence Kasdan (born 14 January 1949, Miami, Florida) is an American movie         
producer, director and screenwriter. Raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, where     
he graduated from Morgantown High School in 1966, he went on to attend the         
University of Michigan as an education major.                                       
Kasdan graduated from the University of Michigan with an MA in Education,           
originally planning on a career as an English teacher. He was a student of         
Professor Kenneth Thorpe Rowe. Upon graduation, Kasdan was unable to find a         
teaching position, so he became an advertising copywriter, a profession he found   
so loathsome he refused to bring a second child into the world until he escaped     
it. Still, he labored at it for five years (even picking up a Clio Award along     
the way), first in Detroit and later in Los Angeles where he tried to interest     
Hollywood in his screenplays.                                                       
Kasdan's introduction into the film business came in the mid-1970s when he sold     
his script for The Bodyguard to Warner Bros. as a vehicle for Diana Ross. The       
script became stuck in "development hell" and became one of several scripts         
successively called "the best un-made film in Hollywood"; it was eventually         
produced as a 1992 film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.                 
George Lucas commissioned Kasdan in 1979 to complete the screenplay for The         
Empire Strikes Back after the death of Leigh Brackett. Lucas then commissioned     
Kasdan to write the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark and the last             
installment of the Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi. Kasdan made his           
directing debut in 1981 with Body Heat, which he also wrote.                       
Kasdan is known for both writing and directing his films, which have ranged from   
Westerns to romantic comedies to, most prominently, thought-provoking dramas. He   
has received four Academy Award nominations, for screenplays to The Big Chill,     
Grand Canyon, and The Accidental Tourist, for which he also earned a nomination     
for Best Picture. He has cast Kevin Kline in five of his films.                     
He makes a cameo appearance in James L. Brooks' comedy As Good As It Gets as the   
fed-up psychiatrist of Jack Nicholson's novelist.                                   
Kasdan is the father of directors/actors Jake and Jon Kasdan.