Date of Birth: January 14, 1949
Born in Miami Beach, Florida and raised in West Virginia, Lawrence Kasdan attended the University of Michigan with plans to become an English teacher. He soon realized that he enjoyed writing more than teaching however, so instead, he went on to become a copywriter for an ad agency. After winning several awards for his commercials, he moved on to screenwriting, selling his first script, The Bodyguard in 1976 (although it wasn't made into a film until 1992). His first credit came as one of the writers of the blockbuster Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Kasdan made his feature film directorial debut shortly after when he directed his screenplay, Body Heat (1981), starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. The film was a success, and Kasdan went on to direct and co-write The Big Chill (1983). Not only was the film a box office smash, but it earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture as well as Best Screenplay.
Kasdan co-wrote the screenplay for his next film, Silverado (1985) with his brother, Mark Kasdan. The film was a western, the type of film Kasdan had grown up watching, but it didn't have the success of Kasdan's previous films. He then co-wrote the screenplay for The Accidental Tourist (1988), based on the best-selling novel by Anne Tyler. Starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner, the film was well-received and was nominated for four Oscars, winning one for Geena Davis in the Best Supporting Actress category.
I Love You to Death (1990) was the first film Kasdan directed but didn't write, and the comedy was his least successful effort to date, despite the involvement of stars such as Kevin Kline, William Hurt, River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves and Joan Plowright. He next teamed up with his wife, Meg Kasdan, to write the script for Grand Canyon (1991). Their teamwork earned them Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Screenplay, and the film won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Kasdan returned to the western genre with Wyatt Earp (1994), starring Kevin Costner. Although the film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography, it also won a Worst Actor Razzie award for Costner and a Worst Remake Razzie award. Kasdan bounced back with the romantic comedy French Kiss (1995), starring Meg Ryan as a woman who wants to get her straying fiancé back at any cost, even if it means having to follow him to France. Kasdan decided to try his hand at stage directing in the fall of 1995 with John Patrick Shanley's Four Dogs & a Bone at the Geffen Playhouse, but he later returned to the big screen with the comedy Mumford (1999). He wrote and directed Dreamcatcher (2003), a horror film based on a Stephen King novel. In 2012, returned to th big screen to direct Darling Companion, a drama about a woamn's frantic search for her missing dog.
Kasdan's son, Jake Kasdan, has followed in his father's footsteps, starting off as an actor in his father's films The Big Chill, Silverado and The Accidental Tourist, then moving on to direct TV series such as Freaks and Geeks and Grosse Pointe, as well as the feature film Orange County (2002).
French Kiss (1995)
Wyatt Earp (1994)
Grand Canyon (1991)
I Love You to Death (1990)
Accidental Tourist, The (1988)
Big Chill, The (1983)
Body Heat (1981)