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Joel Silver

Joel Silver

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: July 14, 1952 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: South Orange, New Jersey, USA Profession: producer, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The guiding hand behind such Hollywood hits as "Commando" (1985), "Lethal Weapon" (1987) and "Die Hard" (1988), Joel Silver helped redefine the American action film near the turn of the century, while shifting the label of auteur away from the film director to the producer. Having paid his dues as an assistant to producer Lawrence Gordon following his graduation from film school, Silver swiftly worked his way up the industry ladder, earning a producer's credit with Walter Hill's "48 Hrs." (1982). With the formation of his own company, Silver stamped a fresh template for the Hollywood action film, dialing up the violence quotient from previous decades while leavening the mixture with ample doses of humor. Silver also altered the genre recipe by making movie stars out of nontraditional performers from the worlds of professional sports and stand-up comedy. His outsized ego branded him persona non grata at several major studios, but Silver's track record for success was inarguable - especially after the box office juggernaut that was "The Matrix" (1999) and its sequels, which pushed his profit margin into the multi-billions. Often demonized by critics for emphasizing style - and explosions - over...

The guiding hand behind such Hollywood hits as "Commando" (1985), "Lethal Weapon" (1987) and "Die Hard" (1988), Joel Silver helped redefine the American action film near the turn of the century, while shifting the label of auteur away from the film director to the producer. Having paid his dues as an assistant to producer Lawrence Gordon following his graduation from film school, Silver swiftly worked his way up the industry ladder, earning a producer's credit with Walter Hill's "48 Hrs." (1982). With the formation of his own company, Silver stamped a fresh template for the Hollywood action film, dialing up the violence quotient from previous decades while leavening the mixture with ample doses of humor. Silver also altered the genre recipe by making movie stars out of nontraditional performers from the worlds of professional sports and stand-up comedy. His outsized ego branded him persona non grata at several major studios, but Silver's track record for success was inarguable - especially after the box office juggernaut that was "The Matrix" (1999) and its sequels, which pushed his profit margin into the multi-billions. Often demonized by critics for emphasizing style - and explosions - over substance, Silver nonetheless came to represent the state of the art of big box office Hollywood filmmaking, earning by sheer force of will and a savvy sense of the next big thing the mantle of mega-producer.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Split Personality (1992) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Osmosis Jones (2001) Voice Of Police Chief
3.
 Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) Raoul--The Director
4.
 High Finance (1975)
5.
 Making the Game: Enter the Matrix (2003) Interviewee
7.
8.
 75 Years of Blockbusters (1998) Interviewee
9.
 75 Years of SuperStars (1998) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in South Orange, NJ
:
Moved to Los Angeles, worked as assistant to producer Lawrence Gordon
:
Promoted to President, Motion Picture division at Lawrence Gordon Productions
1979:
Debut as associate producer, "The Warriors"
1980:
Served as a co-producer of the movie musical "Xanadu"
1982:
First film as executive producer, "Jekyll and Hyde...Together Again"
1985:
Formed production company Silver Pictures
1985:
First film under the Silver Pictures banner, "Commando"
1987:
Initial screen collaboration with director Richard Donner, "Lethal Weapon" with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover
1988:
Produced the action hit "Die Hard," starring Bruce Willis
1988:
Feature acting debut, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"
1989:
Executive produced, along with Richard Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill and Robert Zemeckis, the HBO series "Tales From the Crypt"
1989:
Produced "Leathal Weapon 2," also directed by Donner
1992:
Made directorial debut with "Split Personality," an episode from "Tales From the Crypt"
1992:
Continued the franchise with "Leathal Weapon 3"
1993:
Received the 1,993rd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 7
1995:
Produced Donner's "Assassins," scripted by Larry and Andy Wachowski
1997:
Reteamed with Donner and Gibson for "Conspiracy Theory"
1999:
Had box office smash with "The Matrix," a special effects-driven live-action comic book written and directed by the Wachowski Brothers
1999:
Was executive producer of the controversial but low-rated Fox sitcom "Action" centered on a Hollywood studio executive
1999:
Served as executive producer of the short-lived UPN series "The Strip
2000:
Executive produced the UPN fall drama "Freedom"
2001:
Served as producer on the action thriller "Swordfish," starring John Travolta and Halle Berry
2001:
Produced "13 Ghosts"
2001:
Produced the USA Network original movie "Jane Doe"
2002:
Served as producer of the action film "Cradle to the Grave," starring Jet Li and DMX
2003:
Produced the highly-anticipated sequel "The Matrix Reloaded"
2003:
Produced third film in the trilogy "The Matrix Revolutions"
2004:
Executive produced crime drama series "Veronica Mars" (UPN, The CW)
2005:
Produced the remake of "House of Wax"
2006:
Produced "V For Vendetta," once again collaborating with Larry and Andy Wachowski who adapted Alan Moore and David Lloyd's graphic novel
2008:
Reteamed with writers and directors the Wachowski Brothers for live action adaptation of "Speed Racer"
2009:
Produced Guy Ritchie's feature adaptation of "Sherlock Holmes" with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law
2012:
Executive produced the teen comedy "Project X"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Columbia High School: Maplewood , New Jersey -
New York University's Tisch School of the Arts: - 1974

Notes

"My primary audience is the young male genre. I understand them." --Joel Silver quoted in DAILY VARIETY, June 22, 1993

"It's part of the politically correct world of the media that you need to have a reason for everything. Just to be entertaining isn't enough. It's considered bad to make movies which are just meant to be commercial and entertaining. Look at 'Jurassic Park.' It's an entertaining adventure movie for everybody. How HORRIBLE! What a horrible concept, to make an ENTERTAINING movie! And Steven Spielberg has to follow it up with 'Schindler's List,' because even someone as talented as him feels pangs of guilt for making a movie that's so commercial!" --Silver to LOS ANGELES TIMES, August 1, 1993

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Lisa Matthews. Born c. 1969; 1991 PLAYBOY Playmate of the Year.
wife:
Karyn Fields. Producer. Announced engagement in April 1998; married in July 1999 in Venice.

Family close complete family listing

sister:
Allison Silver. Print editor.

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