Dennis Dugan

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Dennis Dugan
Born(1946-09-05) September 5, 1946 (age 68)
Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.
OccupationActor, film director, comedian
Years active1968–present
Spouse(s)Joyce Van Patten (1973–1987; divorced)
Sharon O'Connor (?–present)
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Dennis Dugan
Born(1946-09-05) September 5, 1946 (age 68)
Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.
OccupationActor, film director, comedian
Years active1968–present
Spouse(s)Joyce Van Patten (1973–1987; divorced)
Sharon O'Connor (?–present)

Dennis Dugan (born September 5, 1946) is an American actor, director, and comedian. He is famous for his partnership with comedic actor Adam Sandler, with whom he directed the films Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Grown Ups, Just Go with It, Jack and Jill, and Grown Ups 2.

Life and career[edit]

Dugan was born in Wheaton, Illinois on September 5, 1946, the son of Marion and Charles Dugan. He started his acting career in 1972, appearing in the 1973 TV movie The Girl Most Likely to.... He acted in such films as 1976's Harry and Walter Go to New York and Norman... Is That You? In 1979, he was cast as the time-displaced hero in Unidentified Flying Oddball, Disney's updated remake of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. In 1981, he appeared in Joe Dante's adaptation of The Howling.

Dugan's first notable television appearance was in the Columbo episode "Last Salute to the Commodore" as a young police officer. He also did two episodes of M*A*S*H. Then he was the star of the short-lived 1978 series Richie Brockelman, Private Eye, playing a character who originated in a telemovie, and made guest appearances in the role of Brockelman on The Rockford Files before getting his own show.

He took on a semi-regular role as an erstwhile caped crusader who called himself "Captain Freedom" on Hill Street Blues. He also appeared on Empire (1984), and Shadow Chasers (1984). He played Walter Bishop, briefly the husband of Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) on Moonlighting. Dugan's other film credits of the 1980s include the 1987 romantic comedy Can't Buy Me Love and 1988's The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.

Dugan launched a career as a television and film director, appearing in cameo parts in many of his films. Ones he directed include the 1990 comedy Problem Child, Brain Donors,[1] the 2001 comedy Saving Silverman (in which Dugan plays a football referee), the 2003 comedy National Security, and the 1996 and 1999 Adam Sandler comedies Happy Gilmore (in which Dugan plays Doug Thompson, the golf tour supervisor) and Big Daddy (with Dugan as a man who reluctantly gives candy to a trick-or-treating Julian). Dugan has directed episodes of such television series as Moonlighting (was also a guest star in some episodes), Ally McBeal, and NYPD Blue.

Dugan directed The Benchwarmers, a 2006 comedy co-produced by Sandler, about trio of men who try to make up for missed opportunities in childhood by forming a three-player baseball team to compete against standard Little League squads. Dugan himself has a bit part as Coach Bellows. Dugan directed the 2007 comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and You Don't Mess with the Zohan in 2008, both Sandler vehicles.

Dugan directed Grown Ups, which follows a group of high school friends who are reunited after thirty years for the Fourth of July. The film again stars Sandler, along with Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade, and was released in the summer of 2010 with major box office success.

Dugan's Just Go with It was his sixth film with Sandler; it also starred Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker. Also in 2011, Dugan directed the film Jack & Jill, again with Sandler, and Grown Ups 2, which was released in 2013 with Sandler, James, Rock and Spade all reprising their roles. Schneider was unable to do so due to scheduling conflicts.

To date, Dugan's films have grossed over $1 billion worldwide.[2]

Personal life[edit]

He has been married twice, first to actress Joyce Van Patten in 1973, before divorcing in 1987. Dugan then wed Sharon O'Connor, to whom he is still married.

In June 2009, Dugan's son, Kelly Dugan, was drafted with the 75th overall selection by the Philadelphia Phillies in the Major League Baseball Draft, and has played for four of the club's minor league teams since including the Gulf Coast Phillies, Williamsport Crosscutters, Lakeland BlueClaws and now currently with the Reading Phillies.[3]

Directing credits[edit]

NameYearOther notes
Hunter19872 episodes
Wiseguy1988"Phantom Pain"
Moonlighting1988–19895 episodes
Problem Child1990
Brain Donors1992
Doogie Howser, M.D.1993"What Makes Doogie Run"
Columbo1993"Butterfly in Shades of Grey"
Burke's Law1994"Who Killed Nick Hazard?"
L.A. Law1993–19942 episodes
The Byrds of Paradise19942 episodes
The Shaggy Dog1994TV movie
Marker1995"The Pilot"
Picket Fences1994–19952 episodes
Chicago Hope1995"Freeze Outs"
Happy Gilmore1996Doug Thompson
Beverly Hills Ninja1997
The Love Boat: The Next Wave1998"Smooth Sailing"
Ally McBeal1998"Alone Again"
Big Daddy1999Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director
Shasta McNasty1999"Pilot"
Saving Silverman2001Also known as Evil Woman.
A Screwball Homicide2003TV movie
National Security2003
NYPD Blue1993–2004
The Mullets2004"Silent But Deadly"
Karroll's Christmas2004TV movie
Hope & Faith2005"Wife Swap" (Parts 1 and 2)
The Benchwarmers2006
I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry2007Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director
You Don't Mess with the Zohan2008
Grown Ups2010Basketball Referee
Just Go with It2011Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director
Jack and Jill2011
Grown Ups 22013Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director


  1. ^ Maslin, Janet (April 18, 1992). "A Night At the Ballet Run Amok". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Dugan, Dennis "Dennis Dugan: A quiet hitmaker", Variety, 3 December 2010. Retrieved on 21 March 2013.
  3. ^ Dugan, Kelly "Kelly Dugan Minor League Statistics & History", Baseball Reference. Retrieved on 21 March 2013.

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