A leading Hollywood producer specializing in mainstream youth and family-oriented entertainments, Shuler-Donner entered the industry as one of the first women members of the Hollywood Electronic Camera Union (Local IA 659). She worked as a camera operator on a number of TV projects before graduating to associate producer of "ABC's Wide World of Entertainment" (beginning 1973), a catch-all concept for various late-night formats that attempted to compete with Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show." Shuler-Donner next moved to Motown Productions, where she rose through the ranks to make her TV producing debut with the acclaimed "Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill" (1979), a TV-movie written and directed by Joel Schumacher in the style of Robert Altman's "Nashville."
Shuler-Donner produced her first feature, the John Hughes-scripted comedy hit "Mr. Mom" (1983) starring Michael Keaton. In collaboration with producer-director and future husband Richard Donner, she followed up with "Ladyhawke" (1985), an engaging sword-and-sorcery romance starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer. Shuler-Donner has since worked again with directors Schumacher ("St. Elmo's Fire" 1985), Hughes ("Pretty in Pink" 1986), and Donner ("Radio Flyer" 1992). Shuler-Donner had a particularly successful year in 1993 overseeing two solid hits--"Dave," a homespun political comedy, and "Free Willy," an affecting story of a boy and his whale. She oversaw the inevitable sequel to the latter in 1995 as well as was executive producer on "Assassins," directed by Donner.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Served as associate producer for first feature film, "Thank God It's Friday" for Motown Productions
Debut as TV producer, "Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill" for Motown Productions
Produced first feature, "Mr. Mom"
First collaboration with director (and future partner) Richard Donner as producer of "Ladyhawke"
Acted in a small role as a nurse in Donner's "Lethal Weapon 3"
Produced the heartwarming family film "Free Willy"; went on to oversee its two sequels
Was an executive producer of "Assassins", directed by Donner
Served as executive producer of Warren Beatty's political satire "Bulworth" and Nora Ephron's "You've Got Mail"