Ron Shelton biography
Just Getting Started Director
Date of Birth: September 15, 1945
California native Ron Shelton showed talent for both arts and sports as a young man.
For several years, he fluctuated between the two while trying to figure out what he wanted to do. A basketball star at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, he went on to play five seasons of minor league baseball as second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles farm team.
He also spent a short time earning his living as a sculptor, before deciding he needed to focus his talents, and eventually enrolled at Arizona State University, where he earned an MFA degree.
In 1983, he established himself as a screenwriter when he was hired to do rewrites for director Roger Spottiswoode's Under Fire (1983), about a journalist (Nick Nolte) covering a war in Nicaragua.
He went on to write The Best of Times (1986), about high school football and starring Kurt Russell and Robin Williams.
It would be the first of many scripts by Shelton that would feature sports as the main subject.
screenplay Shelton had written was about a minor league baseball player called "A Player to Be Named Later." After the success of his first two films, Shelton not only had enough clout to get the film produced, but he also managed to get the go ahead to direct the film himself.
Now called Bull Durham (1988), the film was a huge hit and made an instant star of leading man Kevin Costner.
With a best screenwriter Oscar nomination and awards from the Screenwriter's Guild and the New York Film Critics Circle, Shelton became one of Hollywood's leading writer/directors.
Although his next film, Blaze (1989), did not score the box office success of his previous film, it became a personal milestone for Shelton as he went on to marry one of the stars, Toronto-born Lolita Davidovich.
He returned to
the sports genre for his next film, scoring another solid hit with the basketball comedy White Men Can't Jump (1992), starring Woody Harrelson.
Unfortunately, his baseball bio-pic, Cobb (1994), flopped and didn't even go to wide release. Tin Cup (1996), about a golfer, reunited Shelton with Kevin Costner, and it fared much better both at the box office, but didn't have
the success of their earlier pairing.
That same year, he wrote a script called The Great White Hype, but Shelton tried to get his name taken off it (unsuccessfully) because the end result didn't resemble what he'd written -- he
called it "a horrible movie."
In 1999, Shelton directed his screenplay Play It To The Bone , a boxing movie starring Antonio Banderas, Woody Harrelson and Shelton's wife, Lolita Davidovich, but the film bombed both with critics and at the box office.
Next, Shelton decided to try something new -- he directed a screenplay that he had not written himself -- Dark Blue (2003). Completely different from his other movies, the dramatic action film stars Kurt Russell as a police detective during the 1992 LA riots.
Following in the same vein, Shelton wrote and directed the crime drama Hollywood Homicide (2003), starring Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett.
Based in Santa Monica, Shelton owns a own production company, Shanghai'd Films with business partner, Stephen Chin.