Television producer and film director Gregory Hoblit first achieved recognition on the small screen thanks to his collaboration with his producing partner, TV creator and producer Steven Bochco. Following a short stint on local TV in Chicago, he began working with Bochco in the critically acclaimed, but short lived series “Paris” (1979-1980). They scored a huge success with their next series, the popular “Hill Street Blues” (NBC, 1981-1987), in which Hoblit picked up his first four Emmy Awards. They would work together again for the successful series “L.A Law” (NBC, 1986-1994) and “NYPD Blue” (ABC, 1993-2005), which each brought Hoblit an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. He also netted the PGA Television Producer of the Year Award for “NYPD Blue.” Making his directing debut with an episode of “Hill Street Blues,” he was honored with Emmy Awards for directing “L.A. Law: Pilot” and the pilot episode of “Hooperman” and a Directors Guild of America Award and an Emmy nomination for directing the pilot of “NYPD Blue.” He also earned an Emmy Award and an Emmy nomination as the director and producer of the TV film “Roe vs. Wade” (1989).
After his success on television, Hoblit became a film director. Making his debut with “Primal Fear” (1996), which won actor Edward Norton a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination, he has since helmed such features as “Fallen” (1998), “Frequency” (2000, also a producer), “Hart's War” (2002, also produced), “Fracture” (2007) and “Untraceable” (2008). He infrequently revisited television by directing the made for TV movies “NYPD 2069” (2004) and “Solving Charlie” (2009).
Hoblit has been married to actress Debrah Farentino since 1994. He is the father of two girls.
Childhood and Family:
Gregory King Hoblit was born on November 27, 1944, in Abilene, Texas, to Harold Foster Hoblit, a FBI agent, and Elizabeth Hubbard King. As a young child, he moved with his family to northern California because of his father’s job. Growing up in the Berkeley area, he graduated from Berkeley High School in 1962 and later completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). He went on to pursue his graduate degree in film and television at UCLA.
On September 10, 1994, Gregory tied the knot with actress Debrah Farentino (born on September 30, 1959). They had a daughter (Sophie Hoblit) in 1995. Gregory also has an older daughter named Molly (born in 1992) from his wife's previous marriage.
Hill Street Blues
Gregory Hoblit began his professional television career in Chicago, where he worked as an associate producer and eventually producer on shows at the ABC TV affiliate WLS. After moving back to Los Angeles in the late 1970s, he served as an associate producer on the NBC miniseries “Loose Change” (1978), an adaptation of Sara Davidson's 1977 book, and the made for television film “Dr. Strange” (CBS, 1978). The next year, he began a fruitful partnership with Steven Bochco at MTM Enterprises when they joined forces to produce a television series for CBS called “Paris,” where Hoblit served as a supervising producer and Bochco as an executive producer, in addition to a creator. Starring James Earl Jones, the show premiered on September 29, 1979, but did not survive because of problems with timeslots. The final episode aired on January 15, 1980. He also served as a producer on the ABC horror film “Vampire” (1979), which was executive produced by Bochco.
Hoblit's first break arrived when he took on the duties of producer, supervising producer and co-executive producer on the Bochco created police procedural series “Hill Street Blues” (NBC, 1981-1987). The series garnered praise and was considered by many critics as one of the best series ever broadcasted on American television. During its first season, the series collected eight Emmy awards and continued to amass a respectable 98 Emmy nominations in total during its run. Hoblit shared four Emmys in the category of Outstanding Drama Series (1981-1984) for his work on the show. He also made his television directorial debut with the show's episode “Fecund Hand Rose” (1981) and directed several more episodes, including “Rites of Spring” (1981), “Blood Money” (1981), “Freedom's Last Stand” (1982), “Trial by Fury” (1982), “Parting Is Such Sweep Sorrow” (1984), “Queen for a Day” (1985) and “Grin and Bear It” (1985). He also wrote an episode called “Life, Death, and Eternity” (1981).
Hoblit, who served as a supervising producer on the TV series pilot “Every Stray Dog and Kid” (1981), next co-executive produced (with Bochco) the series “Bay City Blues” (1983). Starring Michael Nouri, Dennis Franz and Pat Corley, the show suffered from low ratings and was pulled from NBC's lineup after airing four of the eight episodes that were produced. Hoblit also stepped behind the camera as the director of the pilot episode.
In 1986, Hoblit was reunited with Bochco for the television legal dramatic series “L.A. Law” (NBC, 1986-1994), which Bochco created with Terry Louise Fisher. He produced an episode in 1986, served as co-executive producer during 1986-1988, and jointly nabbed a 1987 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series for his producing duty. He also directed a few episodes, including the “L.A. Law: Pilot (#1.0)” episode (1986), from which he nabbed an Emmy for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series and a Directors Guild of America nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Specials, and “The Wizard of Odds” (1987), from which he nabbed a 1988 Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series. His behind the camera efforts as a director further gained recognition when he took home an Emmy Award for directing the pilot episode of “Hooperman” (ABC, 1987-1989), a series that starred John Ritter. Hoblit's future wife, Debrah Farentino, also starred in the series as Susan Smith.
In 1989, Hoblit made his television movie directing debut with NBC's “Roe vs. Wade,” which he also produced. The drama, starring Holly Hunter and Amy Madigan, was written by Alison Cross and won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV. Hoblit earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries or a Special. He stayed in the director's chair to helm episodes of “Equal Justice” (1 episode, 1990), Steven Bochco's “Cop Rock” (2 episodes, 1990) and the pilot of ABC's “Civil Wars” (1991). He also directed the 1993 TV film “Class of '61” (ABC), which starred Josh Lucas, Clive Owen, Laura Linney and Susan Ward, and was nominated for a 1991 Emmy in the category of Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for helming the pilot of “Cop Rock.”
Hoblit enjoyed another victory when he became one of the executive producers and directors of the popular series “NYPD Blue” (ABC, 1993-2005), which was created by Bochco and David Milch. He shared a 1995 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series and won a Directors Guild of America in the category of Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic for helming the pilot episode, from which he also nabbed an Emmy nomination. He received a DGA nomination for the episode “Simon Says” (1994).
In 1996, Hoblit ventured into feature film directing when he directed Richard Gere, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand and Edward Norton in the crime drama “Primal Fear,” which was scripted by Steve Shagan and Ann Biderman and based on the 1992 novel of the same name by William Diehl. The film grossed over $56 million at the box office against its budget of $30 million. Under his direction, Norton received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe Award in the same category. The same year, Hoblit founded a production company named Abilene Pictures.
“Fallen,” Hoblit's second outing as a movie director, was released on January 16, 1998, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The supernatural thriller starred Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland and Embeth Davidtz and was written by Nicholas Kazan. “Fallen” earned mixed reviews from critics and collected $25 million at the U.S. box office.
Entering the new millennium, Hoblit directed and co-produced “Frequency” (2000), a thriller starring Dennis Quaid and James Caviezel that was written by Toby Emmerich. It received generally positive reviews from critics and made over $68 million worldwide. Two years later, he was the director and co-producer for the POW film “Hart's War” (2002), adapted from the John Katzenbach 1999 novel of the same title. The film starred Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell and Terrence Howard. Hoblit returned to television in 2004 when he directed and executive produced the made for TV film “NYPD 2069,” written by Steven Bochco.
In 2007, Hoblit resumed his film career by directing Ryan Gosling, Anthony Hopkins, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike and Embeth Davidtz in the movie “Fracture.” The film received a nomination for the Teen Choice Award for Ryan Gosling in the category of Choice Movie Actor: Horror/thriller and World Soundtrack Award for Mychael Danna in the Film Composer of the Year category. It grossed over $91 million at the box office, well surpassing its budget of $10 million. The following year, he directed “Untraceable” (2008), starring Diane Lane, Colin Hanks, Billy Burke, Joseph Cross and Mary Beth Hurt. It primarily gained negative reviews from critics and performed poorly at the box office upon its release. However, the film did win a Golden Trailer in the Best Thriller Poster category.
Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “NYPD Blue,” 1995
Directors Guild of America (DGA): Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series' - Night, “NYPD Blue,” 1994
PGA: Television Producer of the Year Award, “NYPD Blue,” 1994
Emmy: Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special, “Roe vs. Wade,” 1989
Emmy: Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series, “Hooperman,” 1988
Emmy: Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series, “L.A. Law: Pilot (#1.0),” 1987
Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “L.A. Law,” 1987
Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “Hill Street Blues,” 1984
Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “Hill Street Blues,” 1983
Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “Hill Street Blues,” 1982
Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “Hill Street Blues,” 1981