Raised in the gated community of Rolling Hills, California
Moved to Los Angeles in the early 1950s
Worked as a tuna fisherman while in college
First screenwriting credit (as Edward Wain), Roger Corman's "The Last Woman on Earth"; also acting debut (billed as Edward Wain)
Wrote four episodes for "The Lloyd Bridges Show" (CBS)
Wrote episodes for "The Outer Limits" (ABC), "Breaking Point" (ABC), "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (NBC) and "The Richard Boone Show" (NBC)
Was member of Warren Beatty's production staff and made uncredited contributions to screenplay of "Bonnie and Clyde"; credited as special consultant
Co-scripted (with Sam Peckinpah) "Villa Rides", directed by Buzz Kulik
First feature collaboration with friend Jack Nicholson, acting in Nicholson's directing debut, "Drive, He Said"
Scripted one scene (where the mantle passes from Brando to Pacino) in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather"
Received first Oscar nomination for his adaptation of Darryl Ponicson's novel, "The Last Detail", directed by Hal Ashby; first feature collaboration with Nicholson as actor
Won Oscar for original screenplay for Roman Polanski's "Chinatown", starring Nicholson
Co-wrote (with Beatty) "Shampoo", directed by Ashby; earned third screenwriting Oscar nomination in as many years
With Paul Schrader, co-wrote "The Yakuza", directed by Sydney Pollack
Contributed uncredited "script-doctoring" to "Marathon Man", rewriting William Goldman (a master himself)
Film producing and directing debut, "Personal Best"
Took screenwriting credit for "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes" as P H Vazak (his dog's name); had orinally intended to direct film, but fallout from his war with David Geffen on "Personal Best" led Warner Bros. to give the helm to Hugh Hudson; shared Oscar nomination with other credited writer Michael Austin
Portrayed Stan in James Toback's "The Pick-up Artist"
Executive produced "The Bedroom Window", directed by Curtis Harrington
Second film as writer-director, "Tequila Sunrise"
Scripted "Chinatown" sequel "The Two Jakes"; originally supposed to direct but replaced by Nicholson; friendship did not survive the flap
First association with Tom Cruise, "Days of Thunder"; co-wrote story with Cruise, then executed the screenplay
Collaborated with David Rabe and David Rayfiel on screenplay for "The Firm", adapted from the John Grisham novel; starred Cruise and directed by Sydney Pollack
Second screenwriting collaboration with Beatty, the disastrous remake "Love Affair"
Co-wrote "Mission: Impossible" with David Koepp for producer-star Cruise
Third film as writer-director, "Without Limits", produced by Cruise and Paula Wagner; second film in as many years about legendary runner Steve Prefontaine; co-wrote with Kenny Moore, former University of Oregon and 1972 Olympic teammate of Prefontaine
Penned the screenplay for "Mission: Impossible II," starring Tom Cruise and directed by John Woo
Helmed an adaptation of John Fante's Depression Era novel, "Ask the Dust," starring Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek