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Lawrence Kasdan (born 14 January 1949) is an American movie producer, director and screenwriter. Raised in Morgantownmarker, West Virginiamarker, where he graduated from Morgantown High School in 1966, he went on to attend the University of Michiganmarker as an education major.


Kasdan was born in Miamimarker, Floridamarker. He graduated from the University of Michiganmarker 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 Detroitmarker and later in Los Angelesmarker 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 and Steve McQueen. 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 and romantic comedies to 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.


Year Title Notes
1980 The Empire Strikes Back writer
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark writer
Body Heat writer, director
Continental Divide writer
1983 Return of the Jedi writer
The Big Chill writer, director, and executive producer
1985 Silverado writer, director, and producer
1988 The Accidental Tourist writer, director, and producer
1990 I Love You to Death director
1991 Grand Canyon writer, director, and producer
1992 The Bodyguard writer and producer
1994 Wyatt Earp writer, director, and producer
1995 French Kiss director
1999 Mumford writer and director
2003 Dreamcatcher writer and director
TBA Robotech writer
2010 Clash of the Titans writer


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