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Larry Cohen

Larry Cohen

Larry Cohen is well known in the motion picture industry in two complementary though diverse categories. He is one of the most accomplished auteurs of the contemporary independent film genre having written, directed and produced twenty movies, and has also had an enormously successful career as a mainstream screenwriter of major motion pictures and television.

A film aficionado since his elementary school days, Cohen rocketed to fame as a television writer while still in his late teens. While attending City College of New York, he wrote a classic episode, False Face of the horror anthology, Way Out, hosted by Roald Dahl. Later his talent was discovered by award winning writer Reginald Rose and he became a regular contributor to the prestigious award winning TV series, The Defenders, writing 13 episodes for which he was honored twice by the Television Academy.

Cohen went on to write for such television series as The Fugitive, before creating the series The Invaders and Branded. He then became a sought after screenwriter, penning the sequel to the highly successful Magnificent Seven. In the early 70s, he enjoyed enormous success as a screenwriter of such films as Return of the Seven, which starred Yul Brynner, Daddy's Gone A-Hunting, directed by Mark Robson, and El Condor, directed by John Guillermin and produced by Andre De Toth.

Cohen began to get restless, wanting to direct his own material, and he made his directorial debut with Bone. Following that he directed and produced a string of films he had also written, including the controversial political drama The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, with an all star cast including Oscar winners Broderick Crawford, Dan Dailey, and Jose Ferrer, God Told Me To, It Lives Again, The American Success Company (starring Jeff Bridges), Full Moon High (starring Alan and Adam Arkin), the satiric The Stuff, It's Alive, A Return To Salem's Lot (which starred cult director Samuel Fuller and introduced a young Tara Reid), Wicked Stepmother (starring Bette Davis), and Ambulance (starring Eric Roberts, James Earl Jones and Oscar winner Red Buttons). His most recent directorial effort was Original Gangstas with Pam Grier.

In the 70s and 80s, in addition to his film work, he also wrote the Broadway play Trick, starring Tammy Grimes, produced by Joshua Logan. Other stage plays include the British production of Motive, (with Honor Blackman) and the off-Broadway play, Nature of The Crime, with Tony LoBianco. Most recently he wrote and directed the stage play Fallen Eagle, for The Sandford Meisner Theatre Company in Los Angeles.

After almost twenty years of writing/directing and producing and becoming a well known cult figure in the world of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Cohen returned to his first love of screenwriting for both major television and films. During this period he penned some of the most acclaimed and provocative TV episodes of Columbo and more recently The New Defenders, Ed McBain's 87th Precinct, NYPD Blue, the TV miniseries The Invaders and a remake of Body Snatchers. For the big screen, his credits include the acclaimed mystery/thriller Best Seller, starring Brian Dennehy and James Woods and Guilty As Sin, starring Rebecca De Mornay and directed by Sidney Lumet, a Touchstone release.

Over the years Cohen has amassed numerous awards and honors and retrospectives of his films throughout the world. He received the coveted Avoriaz Film Festival Jury Prize twice from juries headed by Polanski and Spielberg and last year was honored with a showing of ten films at the Stockholm Film Festival and with a similar tribute held at the Brisbane Film Festival in Australia. Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, billed its tribute to Cohen, "Gods And Demons A Tribute To The Maverick Independent Filmmaker," honoring his films with a month-long retrospective, which followed a previous month-long tribute at the Chicago Art Institute entitled It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Larry Cohen!


Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Larry Cohen Facts

Birth NameLawrence G. Cohen
OccupationDirector, Writer
BirthdayJuly 15, 1938 (79)
SignCancer
BirthplaceNew York, New York, USA

Selected Filmography

Not available.