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John Landis DIRECTOR
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JOHN LANDIS BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
 
John Landis was born August 30, 1950 in Chicago, Illinois. When he was only four months old his family moved to Los Angeles, where he spent the rest of his childhood. Landis began his Hollywood career in the mailroom of 20th Century Fox. In 1969 he went to Yugoslavia to serve as assistant director for “Kelly's Heroes” (1970), a World War II comedy starring Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Telly Savalas, Carroll O'Connor and Don Rickles. He remained in Europe for a few years, and then returned to the US where he made his debut film as director in the satirical horror “Schlock” (1973). It was a failure, and consequently a number of years went by before Landis was given another opportunity to direct.
 
Four years later he released “Kentucky Fried Movie” (1977), which showcased a series of skits that spoofed multiple media forms and a number of film genres. He followed up with one of his most remembered movies, the teen sex comedy “Animal House” (1978) starring John Belushi and Tim Matheson. It was a smash hit, earning large box office numbers and international recognition for Landis. The director served up an ever larger success next, “The Blues Brothers” (1980) starring Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Carrie Fisher and John Candy while featuring musical numbers by R&B and soul singers James Brown, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker. The film, which is now hailed as a comedy classic, was trailed by “An American Werewolf in London” (1981), marking his return to horror comedy. Thanks to the picture, in 1983 pop icon Michael Jackson asked Landis to direct his thirteen plus minute long music video “Thriller”, which is often regarded as one of the greatest music videos ever made. 

Next the director made the rags-to-riches comedy featuring Eddie Murphy, “Trading Places” (1983). It was a high grosser at the box office, and also established Eddie Murphy as a rising star. Landis’ high flying career took a bit of a downward dive, however, with his next project, “Twilight Zone: The Movie” (1983). Only the prologue and first segment were finished, for there was an accidental on-set death of star Vic Morrow and two bit child actors when special effects caused a helicopter to crash and kill its three passengers. Landis and three other technicians were tried for involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment, but all were acquitted.
 
His next few pictures, “Into the Night” (1985), “Spies Like Us” (1985), “¡Three Amigos!” (1986), and “Amazon Women on the Moon” (1987) (in which he only directed five segments) were rather tepid comedies. In 1988 he came out with his first commercial hit in quite some time, the Eddie Murphy film “Coming to America”. Unfortunately, it was followed by the disastrous slapstick “Oscar” (1991).
 
Landis once again worked with Michael Jackson in 1991 to direct his music video “Black or White”, which aired simultaneously in 27 countries with an estimated viewing population of 500 million. He next directed “Innocent Blood” (1992), a film about a sex-crazed she-vampire. In 1994 the director made “Beverly Hills Cop III”. The Eddie Murphy vehicle did not fare too well, but most still considered it of better quality than the second installment of the action series. After directing the forgetful “The Stupids” (1996), Landis made the comedies “Blues Brothers 2000” (1998) and “Susan’s Plan” (1998), both of which also tanked.  

The only real success that the director found during the nineties was with his show on HBO, titled “Dream On” (1990-1996). It was a popular cult adult comedy show and winner of two Primetime Emmys. In other television matters he directed episodes of series such as “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show” (1999), “Masters of Horror” (2005-2006), “Fear Itself” (2008), “Pysch” (2007-08), and “Franklin & Bash” (2012). He also helmed some documentaries, including “Slasher” (2004), about a shady car salesman, and “Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project” (2007), a taping of comedian Don Rickles’ show, as well as a number of interviews about him. After nearly a decade of absence, Landis returned to the motion picture industry with “Burke and Hare” (2010), a black comedy about two 19th century grave robbers.
 
The director is married to Deborah Nadoolman, an Oscar nominated costume designer, and they have two children. 

 

Filmography

2012       Franklin & Bash   

2010       Burke and Hare
 
2008       Fear Itself    

2007       Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project
 
2007       Psych 
 
2006       The Great Sketch Experiment      

2005       Masters of Horror
 
2004       Slasher   

2003       Michael Jackson: Number Ones  

2002       The Kronenberg Chronicles   

1999       Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show   

1998       Susan's Plan
 
1998       Blues Brothers 2000  

1997       Michael Jackson: HIStory on Film - Volume II  

1996       The Stupids
 
1995       Michael Jackson: Video Greatest Hits - HIStory   

1994       Beverly Hills Cop III
 
1993       Dangerous: The Short Films   

1992       Innocent Blood  

1991       Black or White   

1991       Oscar
 
1990       Dream On
 
1990       Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Special 
 
1990       Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color  

1988       Coming to America
 
1987       Amazon Women on the Moon 
 
1986       ¡Three Amigos!
 
1985       Spies Like Us 

1985       George Burns Comedy Week 
 
1985       Into the Night
 
1985       Disneyland's 30th Anniversary Celebration 
 
1985       B.B. King: Into the Night 
 
1983       Thriller 
 
1983       Twilight Zone: The Movie 
 
1983       Trading Places
 
1982       Coming Soon 
 
1981       An American Werewolf in London
 
1980       The Blues Brothers
 
1978       Animal House 

1977       The Kentucky Fried Movie
 
1973       Schlock
 
1970       Kelly's Heroes





Matinee Classics - '1941' starring Dan Dykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Christopher Lee, Tim Matheson, Toshiro Mifune, Warren Oates, Robert Stack, Treat Williams, Nancy Allen, Eddie Allen, Bobby Di Cicco, ianneKay, Slim Pickens, Wendie Jo Sperber, Lionel Stander, Jordan Brian, John Candy, Perry Lang, Patti LuPone, Frank McRae, Steven Mond, Michael McKean, John Landis, Mickey Rourke, Joe Flaherty, Ignatius Wolfington, Lucille Benson, Elisha Cook Jr. and Susan Bac
Matinee Classics - Animal House starring John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Peter Riegert, Peter Riegert, Kevin Bacon and Donald Sutherland


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