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Lawrence Gordon

Lawrence Gordon has maintained a career as one of the entertainment industry's most prolific and successful producers over the past four decades. He has been behind such timeless films as Field of Dreams, which was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture, the landmark action film Die Hard and the ultimate buddy picture, 48 HRS. starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte.

Born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, Gordon graduated from Tulane University with a degree in business administration. Upon moving to Los Angeles in the early '60s, he went to work as executive assistant to Aaron Spelling at Four Star Television and soon became a writer and associate producer of many Spelling shows.

He followed with a stint as head of West Coast talent development for ABC Television and later as an executive with Bob Banner Associates. In 1968, he joined Sam Arkoff and Jim Nicholson at American International Pictures (AIP) as Vice President in Charge of Project Development. He then segued to Screen Gems, the television division of Columbia Pictures as Vice President, where he helped develop the classic television movie Brian's Song, as well as the first novel for television, the adaptation of Leon Uris' QB VII.

Accepting an offer to become the first executive in the company's history to be in charge of worldwide production, Gordon returned to AIP. His many projects included Coffy, Foxy Brown, Hell?s Angels ?69, Wild in the Streets, John Milius' Dillinger, (for which Gordon also served as executive producer); and Ralph Bakshi?s ground-breaking and controversial animated hit Heavy Traffic, which was among The New York Times' top ten films of 1973.

Gordon then formed his own production company, Lawrence Gordon Productions, and began a long and successful association with director Walter Hill. Among the duo's memorable titles are Hard Times starring Charles Bronson, The Driver with Ryan O'Neal and Isabelle Adjani, the cult classic The Warriors, the memorable 48 HRS. starring Nick Nolte and a then-unknown Eddie Murphy, the rock-and-roll fable Streets of Fire, Brewster's Millions with Richard Pryor and John Candy and Another 48 HRS., which re-united the comedic team from the original.

Gordon also produced the comedy hit The End starring Burt Reynolds, and collaborated again with Reynolds on the box-office smash Hooper. Also during this period, he produced the Paul Schrader penned Rolling Thunder starring William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones and the movie musical Xanadu starring Gene Kelly and Olivia Newton-John.

In 1982, Gordon reunited with his old boss Aaron Spelling to create and executive produce the long-running ABC television series Matt Houston.

In 1984, Gordon became President and Chief Operating Officer of Twentieth Century Fox, where he oversaw such successful titles as James Cameron?s Aliens, James L. Brooks? Broadcast News, Commando starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jewel of the Nile starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito.

After his stint at Fox, Gordon produced the critically acclaimed Lucas, marking the directorial debut of David Seltzer, and Jumpin? Jack Flash starring Whoopi Goldberg, which was Penny Marshall?s first film as a director.

Gordon has also produced for the stage. For Broadway, he produced the musical Smile with music by Tony, Grammy and Academy Award winner Marvin Hamlisch and book and lyrics by Tony and Academy Award winner Howard Ashman. Off-Broadway, Gordon was awarded the prestigious Drama Desk Award for his revival of Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr. Sloane.

In 1987, Gordon produced the summer smash Predator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and later, its sequel. Then, in 1988, he produced the summer blockbuster Die Hard, which introduced Bruce Willis as an action hero and spawned two hit sequels as one of cinema's all-time most successful and imitated franchises.

In 1989, Gordon produced Field of Dreams, the much beloved film starring Kevin Costner and directed by Phil Alden Robinson. The Universal release received several Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture, and the title itself, ?field of dreams,? has become part of the American vernacular.

Subsequently, Gordon produced Family Business directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick, the comedy hit K-9 starring James Belushi, The Rocketeer directed by Joe Johnston and Lock Up starring Sylvester Stallone.

In 1989, Gordon formed Largo Entertainment with the backing of JVC Entertainment, Inc. of Japan, representing the first major Japanese investment in the entertainment industry. As the company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Gordon was responsible for the production of such films as Point Break starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, Unlawful Entry starring Kurt Russell, Ray Liotta and Madeleine Stowe, Used People starring Shirley MacLaine, Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates, Marcia Gay Harden, and Marcello Mastoianni and Timecop starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Largo also co-financed and handled the foreign distribution of the acclaimed Malcolm X directed by Spike Lee and starring Denzel Washington.

In 1994, Gordon left Largo in favor of a long-term producing deal with Universal Pictures. At Universal, his first production was the controversial Kevin Costner starrer Waterworld, which grossed $275 million worldwide.

Among the other Lawrence Gordon Productions are The Devil's Own starring Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt, the critically-acclaimed, Academy Award-nominated Boogie Nights directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Heather Graham and Julianne Moore and Mystery Men starring Ben Stiller.

Gordon is still going strong. In 2001, he produced two motion pictures that opened number one at the box office ? the summer hit Tomb Raider starring Oscar winner Angelina Jolie and the acclaimed K-PAX starring two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and four-time Oscar nominee Jeff Bridges. Gordon?s most recent release was Lara Crof Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, in which Jolie returned as Lara Croft in the summer of 2003.

Gordon is a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Producers Guild of America. He is a former Member of the Board of the American Film Institute.

In 2002, Gordon received the prestigious David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award from the Producers Guild of America.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Lawrence Gordon Facts

OccupationProducer

Selected Filmography

Not available.