director, screenwriter, producer
Birthplace: Miami Beach, Florida
Lawrence Kasdan earned a master's degree in education and worked as an advertising copywriter before selling his first movie script, The Bodyguard, in 1976 (it was finally produced in 1992 as a vehicle for Whitney Houston). His lucrative screenwriting career, which included work on such mega-hits as The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), allowed him to pursue his dreams of directing. He raised temperatures with his directorial debut, Body Heat (1981) and went on to write, direct, and produce numerous films, including the Academy Award-nominated films The Big Chill (1983) and Accidental Tourist (1988; co-scripted with Anne Tyler).