Lawrence Kasdan

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Lawrence Kasdan
BornLawrence Edward Kasdan
(1949-01-14) January 14, 1949 (age 65)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
OccupationDirector, producer, screenwriter
Years active1980–present
Spouse(s)Meg Goldman Kasdan (1971–present)
ChildrenJake Kasdan
Jon Kasdan
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Lawrence Kasdan
BornLawrence Edward Kasdan
(1949-01-14) January 14, 1949 (age 65)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
OccupationDirector, producer, screenwriter
Years active1980–present
Spouse(s)Meg Goldman Kasdan (1971–present)
ChildrenJake Kasdan
Jon Kasdan

Lawrence Edward Kasdan (born January 14, 1949) is an American film producer, director, and screenwriter. He is best known as the co-writer of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Kasdan has been confirmed to be co-writer for the upcoming third trilogy of Star Wars.[1]

He has been nominated for four Oscars: twice for Best Original Screenplay for The Big Chill and Grand Canyon and once for both Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture for The Accidental Tourist. He is the father of directors Jake Kasdan and Jon Kasdan, and the father-in-law of musician Inara George.

Early life[edit]

Kasdan was born in Miami, Florida, the son of Sylvia Sarah (née Landau), an employment counselor, and Clarence Norman Kasdan, who managed retail electronics stores.[2] His brother is the writer/producer Mark Kasdan. He was raised in Morgantown, West Virginia,[3] where he graduated from Morgantown High School in 1966. His family is Jewish.[4]

He graduated from the University of Michigan with an MA in Education, originally planning on a career as an English teacher. He won a Hopwood Award for writing during the time of his studies.[5] He was a student of Professor Kenneth Thorpe Rowe.


Upon graduation, Kasdan was unable to find a teaching position, so he became an advertising copywriter, a profession he did not enjoy, but remained in for five years (even picking up a Clio Award along the way), first in Detroit and later in Los Angeles where he tried to interest Hollywood in his screenplays.

Kasdan's introduction into the film business came in the mid-1970s when after being rejected 67 times,[6] his script for The Bodyguard was sold to Warner Bros. as a vehicle for Diana Ross and Steve McQueen. The script became stuck in "development hell" and became one of several scripts successively called "the best un-made film in Hollywood"; it was eventually produced as a 1992 film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.

After he sold his screenplay Continental Divide to Steven Spielberg, George Lucas commissioned Kasdan in 1979 to complete the screenplay for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back after the death of Leigh Brackett. Lucas then commissioned Kasdan to help him write the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark and the last installment of the Star Wars trilogy, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Kasdan made his directing debut in 1981 with Body Heat, which he also wrote.

Kasdan is known for both writing and directing his films, which have ranged from Westerns and romantic comedies to thought-provoking dramas. He has received four Academy Award nominations, for screenplays to The Big Chill, Grand Canyon, and The Accidental Tourist, for which he also earned a nomination for Best Picture. Grand Canyon won the Golden Bear at the 42nd Berlin International Film Festival.[7]

He has cast Kevin Kline in six of his films. From 1994 to 2003, he did a set of films that, in contrast to the hits he did in the 1980s, failed to break the bank in receipts; among these films were Wyatt Earp and Dreamcatcher, the latter based on the Stephen King best seller. 1995's French Kiss did gross $100 million.

He made cameo appearances as the lawyer of River Phoenix's character in I Love You To Death and in James L. Brooks' comedy As Good As It Gets as the fed-up psychiatrist of Jack Nicholson's novelist. In 2001 Kasdan was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival's Distinguished Screenwriter Award. Kasdan directed the 2012 dramedy Darling Companion, starring Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline. Kasdan is also directing the Danielle Steel's book Hotel Vendome which is slated for a 2014 release and will star Cameron Diaz and Lorde.

In October 2013, it was announced that JJ Abrams had taken over screenwriting duties for Star Wars Episode VII, working alongside Kasdan following the departure of Michael Arndt.[8]

In 2006, Kasdan received the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement from the Writers Guild of America.

Recurring cast members[edit]

ActorBody Heat
The Big Chill
The Accidental Tourist
I Love You to Death
Grand Canyon
Wyatt Earp
French Kiss
Darling Companion
Kevin CostnerNoN1NoNNoN
Ted DansonNoNNoN
Jeff FaheyNoNNoN
James GammonNoNNoNNoN
Danny GloverNoNNoN
Jeff GoldblumNoNNoN
William HurtNoNNoNNoNNoN
Richard JenkinsNoNNoN
Kevin KlineNoNNoNNoNNoNNoNNoN
Jason LeeNoNNoN
Mary McDonnellNoNNoN
Elisabeth MossNoNNoN
Bill PullmanNoNNoN
Tom SizemoreNoNNoN
Kathleen TurnerNoNNoN
JoBeth WilliamsNoNNoN
Alfre WoodardNoNNoN

1Costner's scenes were deleted from the final film.


1980Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Backwriter
1981Raiders of the Lost Arkwriter
Body Heatwriter, director
Continental Dividewriter
1983Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jediwriter
The Big Chillwriter, director, and executive producer
1985Silveradowriter, director, and producer
1988The Accidental Touristwriter, director, and producer
1990I Love You to Deathdirector
1991Grand Canyonwriter, director, and producer
1992The Bodyguardwriter and producer
1994Wyatt Earpwriter, director, and producer
1995French Kissdirector
1999Mumfordwriter, director, and producer
2003Dreamcatcherwriter, director, and producer
2012Darling Companionwriter, director, and producer
2014Hotel Vendomewriter, director, and producer
2015Star Wars Episode VIIwriter
TBAStar Wars Episode VIIIproducer
TBAUntitled Star Wars spinoffwriter and producer
TBAStar Wars Episode IXwriter and producer


  1. ^ [1] (Businessweek, 2013-03-07)
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Lawrence Kasdan Trivia". Lawrence Kasdan. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "Hopwood Program". University of Michigan. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  6. ^ CHILLIN' BIG WITH LAWRENCE KASDAN By Alex Simon September 2001 issue of Venice Magazine
  7. ^ "Berlinale: 1992 Prize Winners". Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  8. ^ "JJ Abrams to script as well as direct". Guardian UK. 25 August 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 

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