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Shane Black (born December 16, 1961) is an American actor, screenwriter and film director. He is responsible for the some of the biggest blockbuster action films of the late 1980s and early 1990s, including Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout.

Early life

Black was born and grew up in Pittsburghmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, the son of Patricia Ann and Paul Black. His father was a football star in college and later founded his own printing business. Black's family moved to Fullertonmarker, Californiamarker. He attended Sunny Hills High School, a renowned magnet school.

He studied theater at UCLAmarker and graduated in 1983 with the intent to become an actor. While looking for a way to make some income as he struggled to find acting roles, his friend Fred Dekker encouraged Black to try his hand at screenwriting. Remembering what he learned from a dramatic writing class he took in college, he borrowed a typewriter and went to work on his first script. At age 23, Black wrote his second screenplay, Lethal Weapon, in six weeks. His agent David Greenblatt sold the screenplay in three days. The film would become a successful franchise and help Mel Gibson become a superstar celebrity.



Black's first acting role came in the film Predator; since then he has acted in a further five films and in one television episode for the TV series Dark Justice.


The majority of Black's career is in screenwriting - he has written 10 scripts. He sold his first screenplay Lethal Weapon released in 1987 for $250,000 and was paid $125,000 as a co-writer of Lethal Weapon 2 released in 1989. Since then he made substantially more money as a screenwriter. He received $1.75 million for his screenplay The Last Boy Scout released in 1991, and $1 million for Last Action Hero released in 1993. At the height of his career he was the highest paid screenwriter in the Hollywoodmarker movie industry, making $4 million for penning The Long Kiss Goodnight. Black was the writer and director for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Black has admitted on numerous occasions that many of the script he had written for other directors, although commanding a hefty sum, were rewritten to a point where they scarcely resembled his product.

Black used the pseudonyms Harry Lime and Holly Martins, the names of two leading characters in the film The Third Man, for certain projects.


Black has a recognizable writing style where he often adds comments and jokes about the situations taking place in the story. He also sometimes directs comments at studio executive and certain script readers. He has given a list of techniques he uses when writing films in an interview with The Guardian.

He has used kidnapping as a plot device in several films: Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Five of his scripts start with the letter L. At least four of his screenplays take place during Christmas.

Awards and honors

Black received the Distinguished Screenwriter Award from the Austin Film Festival October 21, 2006. In 2005, he received the Best Original Screenplay award for Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang' from the San Diego Film Critics Association.

Personal life

In February 2009 he was sued by his former girlfriend for assault, battery, and emotional distress; she claims that during the course of their relationship, he punched, choked, kicked, and attempted to shoot her. In March 2009 he counter-sued her, claiming that she was the violent one.







  1. Shane Black Biography (1961-)
  2. Winters, Laura. "Shane Black, Coming Back With a 'Bang': 'Lethal Weapon' Writer Rearms With Sendup", Washington Post, 6 November 2005, retrieved June 29, 2007.
  3. Screenwriter's Former GF: He Brutalized Me TMZ, February 20, 2009
  4. Shane Black Strikes Back Against Former Girlfriend TMZ, March 27, 2009

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