More Lawrence Gordon Bios & Profiles
Biography #2Lawrence Gordon, one of the entertainment industry's most prolific and highly regarded filmmakers, has achieved remarkable success as an independent motion picture and television producer and as a studio executive.
Altogether, Gordon has produced more than 30 films, including some of the most popular motion pictures in recent film history. As an independent producer, Gordon has been responsible for such box office hits as 48HRS., Predator, Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Point Break, Unlawful Entry, Time Cop and Field of Dreams.
In 1984, Gordon was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of Twentieth Century Fox, where he oversaw the production of hits such as Cocoon, The Jewel of the Nile, Aliens, Commando, The Fly and Broadcast News.
Gordon's regime at Fox brought Academy Award-winning writer/producer/director James L. Brooks to the studio, which resulted in not only the theatrical hit Broadcast News, but also in the Emmy Award-winning television series The Tracey Ullman Show and the hugely successful The Simpsons.
Emmy Award-winning producer Steven Bochco also came to Fox during Gordon's tenure, where he produced the extremely popular series L.A. Law and NYPD Blue. Once at Fox, Bochco brought aboard David E. Kelley, who wrote and executive produced the critically-acclaimed Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Practice and Ally McBeal.
In 1986, Gordon stepped down as President and COO of Twentieth Century Fox in order to return to what he loves most: producing films.
A native of Mississippi, Gordon graduated from Tulane University with a degree in business administration. Upon moving to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, he began work with Aaron Spelling at Four Star Television and soon became a writer and associate producer on many Spelling shows.
After his stint with Spelling, he worked at ABC Television as head of West Coast talent development; in 1965, Gordon joined Bob Banner Associates as a television and motion picture executive. He then joined American International Pictures (AIP) in 1968 as Vice President in Charge of Project Development.
In 1971, Gordon was appointed Vice President of Screen Gems, the television production unit of Columbia Pictures. During his tenure there, he helped develop the classic television movie, Brian's Song, as well as Leon Uris' best-selling novel, QB VII, which became the first Novel for Television.
Returning to AIP, Gordon became the first executive in that company's history to be responsible for worldwide production. His projects included John Milius' Dillinger, for which he also served as executive producer, as well as Ralph Bakshi's controversial animated hit Heavy Traffic, which was named by The New York Times as one of the best films of 1973.
Gordon then formed his own production company, Lawrence Gordon Productions, and began a long association with director Walter Hill. The initial Gordon-Hill collaboration resulted in the film, Hard Times, starring Charles Bronson, followed by The Driver with Ryan O'Neal and Isabelle Adjani; the controversial hit film, The Warriors; 48HRS., starring Nick Nolte and a new discovery, Eddie Murphy, and Brewster's Millions, with Richard Pryor and John Candy.
Gordon also produced the feature film comedy, The End, starring Burt Reynolds, and he collaborated again with Reynolds on the box office hit, Hooper. He later produced the critically acclaimed Lucas starring Corey Haim, Charlie Sheen and another new discovery, actress Winona Ryder.
In 1982, Gordon reunited with his old boss Aaron Spelling to create and executive produce the long-running ABC television series, Matt Houston.
Gordon has also lent his talents to the theatrical stage. In 1986, he was the producer of Smile, a Broadway musical based on the cult film, with music and lyrics, respectively, by Grammy and Academy Award winners Marvin Hamlisch and Howard Ashman. Off-Broadway, Gordon was awarded the prestigious Drama Desk Award for his revival production of Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr. Sloane.
In 1989, Gordon produced perhaps his most celebrated film, Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner, Burt Lancaster and James Earl Jones. The film was nominated for several Academy Awards including Best Picture and has become a contemporary film classic. Family Business followed, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick, as well as the comedy hit, K-9, starring James Belushi. Gordon went on to produce successful sequels to his earlier hits, Another 48 HRS and Die Hard 2.
In 1989, Gordon formed Largo Entertainment with JVC Entertainment, Inc. of Japan -- a deal which was heralded as the first major Japanese investment in the entertainment industry, preceding both Matsushita's purchase of MCA and Sony's acquisition of Columbia Pictures.
At Largo, Gordon served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company, which produced 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 and Marcello Mastroianni, and Time Cop starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. The company also handled the foreign distribution of the highly acclaimed Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee and starring Denzel Washington.
Gordon resigned from Largo Entertainment in 1994 to return once again to producing with a long-term, first-look agreement with Universal Pictures. At Universal, he packaged and presented the controversial film, Waterworld, starring Kevin Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Dennis Hopper. Reportedly one of the highest-budgeted films of all time, it has a worldwide gross in excess of $300 million to date.
In 1997, Gordon produced three major motion pictures: The Devil's Own, directed by Alan J. Pakula and starring Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt; Event Horizon, directed by Paul Anderson and starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill and Kathleen Quinlan, and the critically acclaimed Boogie Nights, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Heather Graham, John C. Reilly, Julianne Moore and William H. Macy. He also served as executive producer for Time Cop, the Universal/ABC Television series based on the hit motion picture.
In 1999, Gordon produced Mystery Men, a Universal Pictures release, directed by award-winning commercial director Kinka Usher. The film stars Ben Stiller, Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush, Greg Kinnear, William H. Macy, Hank Azaria, Lena Olin, Paul Reubens and Janeane Garofalo.
Gordon's most recent film, this summer's Tomb Raider, has grossed more than $100 million domestically. Based on the video game that has become a worldwide sensation, Tomb Raider stars Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, the fictional game heroine who has graced magazine covers all over the globe. A sequel to this movie is currently being prepared.
In addition to his formidable talent as a motion picture, television and theatrical producer, Gordon is well-known for his ability to discover exciting new talent. He was the first to give directing assignments to Penny Marshall, Walter Hill, David Seltzer, John Milius and Roger Spottiswoode. With his proven ability to attract, develop and produce consistently good product, Gordon has established himself as one of the premiere producers in the entertainment industry.