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Randal Kleiser

Randal Kleiser

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Also Known As: John Randal Kleiser Died:
Born: July 20, 1946 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Lebanon, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, producer, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Former TV director ("Marcus Welby, M.D.," "Starsky & Hutch") Randal Kleiser struck lucky at the box-office with his first feature, "Grease" (1978),and then directed another teen-friendly yet mainstream film, "The Blue Lagoon" (1980).The Pennsylvania native moved to Southern California to attend USC. To finance his education, he began to work as a model and actor, appearing in commercials and as an extra in big-budgeted movie musicals like "Camelot" (1967) and "Hello, Dolly!" (1969). After receiving a master's degree in film, he made short films ("Peege" 1973, "Foot Fetish" 1974) before segueing to series TV. Kleiser began directing TV-movies with "All Together Now" (ABC, 1975), a docudrama about orphans, and went on to helm "Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway" (NBC, 1976), with Eve Plumb (of "The Brady Bunch") as a young girl sucked into teen prostitution. Kleiser also directed John Travolta in his first TV-movie, the touching "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (ABC, 1976) and garnered an Emmy nomination for the award-winning holiday-themed "The Gathering" (ABC, 1977), which featured Edward Asner as a dying man trying to make amends with his estranged family."Grease" (1978), a film adaptation of a...

Former TV director ("Marcus Welby, M.D.," "Starsky & Hutch") Randal Kleiser struck lucky at the box-office with his first feature, "Grease" (1978),and then directed another teen-friendly yet mainstream film, "The Blue Lagoon" (1980).

The Pennsylvania native moved to Southern California to attend USC. To finance his education, he began to work as a model and actor, appearing in commercials and as an extra in big-budgeted movie musicals like "Camelot" (1967) and "Hello, Dolly!" (1969). After receiving a master's degree in film, he made short films ("Peege" 1973, "Foot Fetish" 1974) before segueing to series TV. Kleiser began directing TV-movies with "All Together Now" (ABC, 1975), a docudrama about orphans, and went on to helm "Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway" (NBC, 1976), with Eve Plumb (of "The Brady Bunch") as a young girl sucked into teen prostitution. Kleiser also directed John Travolta in his first TV-movie, the touching "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (ABC, 1976) and garnered an Emmy nomination for the award-winning holiday-themed "The Gathering" (ABC, 1977), which featured Edward Asner as a dying man trying to make amends with his estranged family.

"Grease" (1978), a film adaptation of a long-running Broadway musical, was a fantasy version of the 1950s teen musicals. Kleiser seamlessly interwove the film's musical numbers with the plot machinations and elicited a strong performance from leading man John Travolta. The exuberant, if somewhat derivative, film proved to be a box office hit. Kleiser followed with "The Blue Lagoon" (1980), starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. Despite its rather trite story, it, too, proved to be a success at the box office. Gorgeously shot by cinematographer Nestor Almendros, "The Blue Lagoon" was a cool film, in part due to Kleiser's direction of the slightly improbable material. Audiences went to the film to see its stars cavorting in the sun and sand.

After his big screen successes, Kleiser hit a lull with such forgettable efforts as "Grandview USA" (1984) and "Flight of the Navigator" (1986). The quirky sequel, "Big Top Pee-wee" (1988), had some comic moments, but, overall, was not as popular as the other Paul Reubens' big-screen effort. By the 1990s, Kleiser's feature film work perked up. "White Fang" (1991) was well-received by critics and the sequel "Honey, I Blew Up the Kid" (1992) won a modest box office. But "Return to the Blue Lagoon" (1991) failed to duplicate the spirit or success of its original.

The openly gay Kleiser chose to film a far more personal project, based upon his relationship with his lover who, suffering from complications from AIDS, chose to end his life. The result was "It's My Party" (1996), starring Eric Roberts, Gregory Harrison, Bronson Pinchot, Margaret Cho, and Olivia Newton-John, was well-received at several film festivals, including Sundance.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Lovewrecked (2005)
2.
  It's My Party (1996) Director
3.
4.
  White Fang (1991) Director
5.
  Getting It Right (1989) Director
6.
  Big Top Pee-Wee (1988) Director
7.
  Flight Of The Navigator (1986) Director
8.
  Grandview, U.S.A. (1984) Director
9.
  Summer Lovers (1982) Director
10.
  The Blue Lagoon (1980) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Crazy in Alabama (1999) Bob
2.
 Rich and Famous (1981) Literary Party Guest
3.
 George Lucas: Creating an Empire (2002) Interviewee
4.
 Susan's Plan (1998) Doctor No 1
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1973:
Directed episodes of TV series "Marcus Welby, MD"
1973:
Made short film "Peege"
1976:
First produced script, "Street People"
1978:
Feature film directorial debut "Grease"
1975:
TV-movie directorial debut, "All Together Now"
1977:
Directed the acclaimed TV-movie, "The Gathering"
1978:
Feature film directorial debut "Grease"
1980:
Helmed second feature, "The Blue Lagoon"
1996:
Directed autobiographical feature "It's My Party"
1999:
Served as director of a pilot for an Internet series "Royal Standards" for Digital Entertainment Network
1999:
Minor acting role in the comedy drama "Crazy in Alabama"
2004:
Directed "Red Riding Hood," starring Henry Cavill, Morgan Thompson, and Debi Mazar
2005:
Directed Amanda Bynes and Chris Carmack in the romantic comedy "Love Wrecked"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Southern California: Los Angeles , California - 1964
School of Cinema-Television, University of Southern California: Los Angeles , California - 1974

Notes

On "It's My Party": "Even if it were only on Super 8 with a bunch of actors at the house, I just had to do it." Kleiser to THE ADVOCATE, February 6, 1996

"I've never hidden being gay. And I've never pretended to be straight."

"Randal makes everyone feel calm and comfortable like no other director I've ever worked with. He has a quiet control of the set, and because of that things are tension-free." --Olivia Newton-John

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Harry Stein. Met on the set of "Summer Lovers" in 1982; together until 1990; committed suicide in 1993 because he was suffering from complications from AIDS; born c. 1954.

Family close complete family listing

father:
John Raymond Kleiser.
mother:
Harriet Kelly Kleiser.
brother:
Jeffrey Means Kleiser. Animator, special effects technician, executive, businessman. Born September 9, 1954.

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