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Jeff Kanew

Jeff Kanew

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, editor, office boy (at United Artists)

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Jeff Kanew rose out of creating the promotional trailers for such films as "Rocky" and "All the President's Men" to directing frothy comedies such as "Revenge of the Nerds." He was less successful in other genres. He was still a freshman at Columbia University when he went to work for United Artists in New York as an assistant in the department that produced the trailers for UA films. In 1966, Kanew opened his own shop, Utopia Productions, and before long had created the trailer for "The Graduate" and "Midnight Cowboy" among numerous other films. Expanding, he directed and edited "Black Rodeo," a 1971 feature-length documentary on a less known aspect of the circuit, a rodeo that takes place in Harlem, and won good reviews. Kanew decided to try his luck at feature films in 1977 and sold his company to finance his new venture. His first effort was "Natural Enemies," in which Hal Holbrook was a successful publisher who work up one morning with the urge to murder his entire family. "Natural Enemies," which was released in 1979, did not lead to more directing work right away, but Robert Redford asked Kanew to edit "Ordinary People." Kanew parlayed that assignment into "Eddie Macon's Run," a 1982 effort he...

Jeff Kanew rose out of creating the promotional trailers for such films as "Rocky" and "All the President's Men" to directing frothy comedies such as "Revenge of the Nerds." He was less successful in other genres. He was still a freshman at Columbia University when he went to work for United Artists in New York as an assistant in the department that produced the trailers for UA films. In 1966, Kanew opened his own shop, Utopia Productions, and before long had created the trailer for "The Graduate" and "Midnight Cowboy" among numerous other films. Expanding, he directed and edited "Black Rodeo," a 1971 feature-length documentary on a less known aspect of the circuit, a rodeo that takes place in Harlem, and won good reviews. Kanew decided to try his luck at feature films in 1977 and sold his company to finance his new venture. His first effort was "Natural Enemies," in which Hal Holbrook was a successful publisher who work up one morning with the urge to murder his entire family. "Natural Enemies," which was released in 1979, did not lead to more directing work right away, but Robert Redford asked Kanew to edit "Ordinary People." Kanew parlayed that assignment into "Eddie Macon's Run," a 1982 effort he also wrote and directed, and which starred John Schneider from "The Dukes of Hazzard." Two years later, came the release of "Revenge of the Nerds," modestly-budgeted, but among the top comedies of 1984 in box office gross. Kanew starred Anthony Edwards, one of the lead nerds (Gilbert), in his next effort, "Gotcha!" about a college kid who gets mixed up in international espionage. The film did not succeed on the same level as "Nerds." In 1986, Kanew brought Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas back together in "Tough Guys," in which they were aging ex-cons, released from prison but not about the spend their days bagging groceries. Kanew's next two films, "Troop Beverly Hills," a Shelley Long comedy, and "V.I. Warshawski," an attempt to create a female private detective franchise with Kathleen Turner both failed at the box office, and he seemed to drop from sight. Kanew did not work in TV often. He did direct one episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" in 1986 entitled "Night Fever," in which a criminal tries to induce a comely woman to help him escape, but instead gets his just rewards.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  V.I. Warshawski (1991) Director
3.
  Troop Beverly Hills (1989) Director
4.
  Tough Guys (1986) Director
5.
  Gotcha! (1985) Director
6.
  Revenge of the Nerds (1984) Director
7.
  Eddie Macon's Run (1983) Director
8.
  Natural Enemies (1979) Director

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Bethpage, NY on Long Island
1964:
While a college freshman, worked in trailer department at United Artists (date approximate)
1966:
Formed own company to do trailers, Utopia Productions
1971:
Directed first feature-length documentary, "Black Rodeo"
1977:
Sold Utopia Productions; used profits to produce feature films
1979:
First feature film as director-writer-editor released, "Natural Enemies"
1980:
Served as editor on "Ordinary People" for Robert Redford
1984:
Directed box office smash, "Revenge of the Nerds"
1985:
Made TV directorial debut, episode of "Alfred Hitcock Presents"
1986:
Directed "Tough Guys" reuniting Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas
1991:
Directed box office bomb, "V.I. Warshawski"
1994:
Directed episodes of the CBS series "Touched by an Angel"
2003:
Directed the film "Babiy Yar" about the horrific events which occured in Kiev during WWII
2005:
Directed Cameron Douglas in the romantic comedy "Adam and Eve"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Columbia University: New York , New York -

Notes

"When I was 20, I wanted to be the youngest filmmaker in the business ... I was 32 and I figured it was now or never." --Jeff Kanew

"The whole process of making a film is continual compromise. If you have the money to wait till conditions are perfect, and you can get your vision up there just the way you saw it in your head when you were writing it, that's great. But most people end up sort of shifting gears and compromising. And when you get in the cutting room, you look and say 'Now what have I got here?' And that's pretty much what I saw when I was writing it so I feel good about that." --Jeff Kanew

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