Field of Dreams
Academy Award nominated producer and motion picture executive Lawrence Gordon has produced numerous hit movies, including “Predator” (1987), “Die Hard” (1988), “Mystery Men” (1999), “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” (2001), the “Hellboy” franchise (2004's “Hellboy” and 2008's “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”) and “Watchmen” (2009). He received his Oscar nomination for the big screen version of “Field of Dreams” (1989), which was directed by Phil Alden Robinson and starred Kevin Costner. Gordon is also recognized for his long and fruitful affiliation with director/writer Walter Hill and has produced Hill's films “Hard Times” (1975), “The Driver” (1978), “The Warriors” (1979), “48 Hrs” (1982), “Streets of Fire” (1984) and “Another 48 Hrs.” (1990). Starting out on television as an assistant to producer Aaron Spelling in the early 1960s, Gordon went on to serve as an executive producer for several TV projects and later nabbed an Emmy nomination for his work on “Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms” (2006). He also created the 1980s hit series “Matt Houston” (ABC, 1982-1985).
Gordon was the President of 20th Century-Fox from 1984 to 1986 and later served as the Chairman and CEO of Largo Entertainment, a production company he set up in 1989. He previously worked at Screen Gems as the Vice President and at American International Pictures (AIP) as Vice President in Charge of Project Development and then Vice President in Charge of Worldwide Production.
Gordon was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Motion Pictures at the 2002 PGA Awards and the 2004 ShoWest Convention's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Childhood and Family:
Lawrence Gordon was born on March 25, 1936, in Yazoo City, Mississippi. He was raised in Belzoni, Mississippi. He graduated from Tulane University, in New Orleans, with a degree in business administration.
Lawrence is married and has three children. His son, George Joseph Gordon, is a singer/songwriter. Lawrence is the older brother of producer and frequent business partner Charles Gordon (born May 13, 1947).
In the early 1960s, Lawrence Gordon relocated to Los Angeles and began his career as an executive assistant to producer Aaron Spelling at Four Star Television. He quickly moved on to become a writer and associate producer of a number of shows and in 1965 was recruited by ABC Television to be the head of talent development. Later that same year, he joined Bob Banner Associates as an executive.
In 1968, Gordon was hired by Roger Corman of American International Pictures (AIP) as Vice President in Charge of Project Development. After three years, he moved to Screen Gems, the television division of Columbia Pictures, as Vice President. During his stint at Screen Gems, Gordon facilitated the development of the classic television film “Brian's Song” (ABC, 1971), starring James Caan and Billy Dee Williams, and the first novel for television, the adaptation of Leon Uris' “QB VII” (ABC, 1974), starring Ben Gazzara and Anthony Hopkins. Gordon later returned to AIP to become the Vice President in Charge of Worldwide Production, the first in the company's history. His many projects for AIP included Jack Hill's “Coffy” (1973) and “Foxy Brown” (1974) and “Heavy Traffic” (1973), an animated hit directed and written by Ralph Bakshi. He went on to form his own production company called Lawrence Gordon Productions.
Billed as Lawrence A. Gordon, Gordon made his debut as an executive producer on “Dillinger” (1973), an action movie written and directed by John Milius that starred Warren Oates. It was nominated for a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer - Female for Michelle Phillips' performance as Billie Frechette. He went on to reprise the duty for the television films “The Missing Are Deadly” and “Home Cookin'” (both 1975).
Gordon made his feature debut as a producer with the 1975 action movie “Hard Times,” which marked his first with director/writer Walter Hill. Starring Charles Bronson, the film was distributed by Columbia Pictures and first released theatrically on October 8, 1975. After executive producing the TV series “Dog and Cat” (1997) and John Flynn's film “Rolling Thunder” (1977), he produced the comedy hit “The End” (1978), which was directed by Burt Reynolds and starred Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Sally Field, Strother Martin, David Steinberg and Joanne Woodward. He was then reunited with Hill for the Ryan O'Neal vehicle “The Driver” (1978) and the cult classic “The Warriors” (1979), an adaptation of the 1965 novel of the same name by Sol Yurick. He also produced Hal Needham's moderately successful “Hooper,” starring Reynolds, and executive produced the TV film “Lacy and the Mississippi Queen” (both 1978).
In the early to mid 1980s, Gordon produced such films as Robert Greenwald's musical “Xanadu” (1980, starred Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly and Michael Beck), from which he received a 1981 Razzie nomination for Worst Picture for his work, David Steinberg's “Paternity” (1981, starred Burt Reynolds), Jerry Belson's “Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again” (1982) and Walter Hill's “48 Hrs” (1982, starred Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy). He also produced “Streets of Fire” (1984, starred Michael Paré and Diane Lane) and “Brewster's Millions” (1985, starred Richard Pryor and John Candy). On the small screen, Gordon executive produced a string of TV films, including “Stunts Unlimited (1980), “The Renegades” (1982), “Lone Star” (1983), “Just Our Luck” (1983) and “The Streets” (1984). He also created the television series “Matt Houston,” which he co-executive produced with Aaron Spelling and Douglas S. Cramer. Starring Lee Horsley, the series ran on ABC from September 26, 1982, to July 19, 1985.
Gordon served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Twentieth Century Fox in 1984, a stint he would keep for the next two years. He oversaw several of the studio's popular features, such as Mark L. Lester's “Commando” (1985, starred Arnold Schwarzenegger), Lewis Teague's “Jewel of the Nile” (1985, starred Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito), James Cameron's “Aliens” (1986) and James L. Brooks' “Broadcast News” (1987). After leaving Fox, Gordon produced the Whoopi Goldberg starring vehicle “Jumpin' Jack Flash” (1986), which marked the film directorial debut of Penny Marshall. The same year, he also co-produced “Smile,” a Broadway musical based on the 1975 film of the same name.
Back to the big screen, Gordon produced “Predator,” a science fiction movie directed by John McTiernan that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, and Kevin Peter Hall. Released on June 12, 1987, the film debuted at No. 1 at the U.S. box office with a gross of $12 million in its opening weekend. It went on to make over $98 million worldwide. He then produced the summer blockbuster “Die Hard” (1988), the first film in the “Die Hard” franchise, starring Bruce Willis as John McClane. Upon its released, the film enjoyed praise and was considered one of the best action films of its time.
Gordon's career received a further boost when he produced “Field of Dreams” (1989), a dramatic film directed and adapted by Phil Alden Robinson from W. P. Kinsella's novel “Shoeless Joe.” Starring Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, Gaby Hoffmann, Ray Liotta, Timothy Busfield, James Earl Jones, Frank Whaley and Burt Lancaster in his last major film appearance, the film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Score, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and Best Picture for Gordon, which he shared with his brother Charles. 1989 also saw Gordon produce Sidney Lumet's “Family Business” (starred Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick), Rod Daniel's “K-9” (starred James Belushi and Mel Harris) and “Lock Up,” a movie starring Sylvester Stallone and Donald Sutherland that was directed by John Flynn. The latter film brought him his next Razzie nomination for Worst Picture.
It was also in 1989 that Gordon and his brother formed Largo Entertainment with the support of the Japanese company JVC, making it the first Japanese company to seriously invest in a film enterprise. As Chairman and CEO of Largo Entertainment, Gordon oversaw many movie productions, including Kathryn Bigelow's “Point Break” (1991, starred Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey), Jonathan Kaplan's “Unlawful Entry” (1992, starred Kurt Russell, Ray Liotta and Madeleine Stowe), Beeban Kidron's “Used People” (1992, starred Shirley MacLaine, Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates, Marcia Gay Harden and Marcello Mastoianni ), and Peter Hyams' “Timecop” (1994, starred Jean-Claude Van Damme). He also worked on Lee Tamahori's “Mulholland Falls” (1997, starred Nick Nolte, Jennifer Connelly and Chazz Palminteri), Ridley Scott’s “G.I. Jane” (1997, starred Demi Moore) and co-financed and managed the foreign distribution of the Spike Lee acclaimed film “Malcolm X” (1992).
Gordon continued to produce several films in the early 1990s, such as the sequels “Another 48 Hrs.” (1990, directed by Hill), “Predator 2” (1990, directed by Stephen Hopkins), “Die Hard 2” (1990, directed by Renny Harlin), and “The Rocketeer” (1991), starring Billy Campbell and Jennifer Connelly. In 1994, after leaving Largo, he established Lawrence Gordon Productions at Universal Pictures. His first picture with the studio, the controversial Kevin Costner starring vehicle “Waterworld” (1995), received mixed reviews from critics but enjoyed moderate box office success. Gordon went on to produce and/or executive produce “The Devil's Own” (1997, starred Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt), Paul W. S. Anderson's “Event Horizon” (1997), the Academy Award nominated “Boogie Nights” (1997, helmed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starred Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Heather Graham and Julianne Moore), “Thieves” (1999) and “Mystery Men” (1999, starred Ben Stiller.).
In the new millennium, Gordon produced the box office hit “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” (2001), a film adapted from the Tomb Raider video game series. Directed by Simon West and starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, it debuted at No. 1 at the box office. ”Tomb Raider,” however, received primarily negative reviews from critics. Gordon also produced the 2003 sequel “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.”
The Mississippi native also lent his producing talent to the science fiction film “K-PAX” (2001, directed by Iain Softley, the Guillermo del Toro directed superhero film “Hellboy” (2004, starred Ron Perlman) and its 2008 sequel “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” and “Watchmen” (2009), a movie directed by Zack Snyder that starred Malin Åkerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson. In addition, Gordon served as an executive producer on “Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms” (2006), the first of the “Hellboy Animated” series based on Mike Mignola's popular comic book series and the film of the same name, from which he jointly received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Animated Program. He reprised the duty for the second animated straight-to-DVD film “Hellboy: Blood and Iron” (2007). He also executive produced the video short “Tales of the Black Freighter” (2009) and the direct to video adventure film “Under the Hood” (2009).
ShoWest Convention: Lifetime Achievement Award, 2004
PGA: Lifetime Achievement Award in Motion Pictures, 2002