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Robert Harling
  • Biography

Robert Harling

Born in Dothan, Alabama, Robert lived in several Southern towns before his family settled in Natchitoches, Louisiana when he was twelve. Upon his graduation from Northwestern University of Louisiana and Tulane Law School, rather than take the bar exam, he opted to become an actor in New York. After years of productive work as an actor in voice-overs and commercials, Harling was inspired to write the highly acclaimed stage play, Steel Magnolias which was based on events from his family life. To this day, Steel Magnolias continues to thrive in theatrical productions in many languages throughout the world.

Immediately bridging a career from stage to screen, Harling adapted his original play into the popular film of the same title which starred Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton and Daryl Hannah. The personal nature of Steel Magnolias was further enhanced when the filmmakers decided to shoot the movie entirely on location in Natchitoches, where the events on which the story was based took place. Over the years, Harling has become a much sought after screenwriter: other credits include Soapdish, with Kevin Kline and Robert Downey Jr.; and the highly successful First Wives Club for Paramount Pictures starring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton.

Mr. Harling made his directorial debut with The Evening Star for Paramount, which he also wrote for the screen based on Larry McMurtry's novel. The Evening Star reunited Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson and co-starred Juliette Lewis, Bill Paxton, Scott Wolf, Miranda Richardson and Marion Ross. The Evening Star was the continuation of one of the most beloved and acclaimed movies of our time, Terms of Endearment.

His current project is writing the screenplay for the feature film recreation of the 80's television phenomenon Dallas.

Harling is in fact currently juggling many projects. He is also at work with producer Wendy Finerman casting the female lead for his screenplay of Sophie and the Rising Sun, to which Chow Yun Fat is attached to star. Meanwhile he is continuing writing new material and is at work on the film Honeymoon for Sony Pictures while also turning his hit film Soapdish into a stage musical and writing a play set in his Louisiana home entitled The Strangers Room.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Robert Harling Facts

BirthplaceDothan, Alabama, USA

Selected Filmography

Not available.