Walon Green


Director, Producer, Screenwriter

About

Also Known As
Walon C. Green
Birth Place
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Born
December 15, 1936

Biography

This creator of superb nature and science documentaries moved on to fictional films before finding steady employment on three of the most respected TV cop shows of the 1980s and 90s. Walon Green lived a rather nomadic early life. His parents divorced and remarried, often relocating as well. Raised in Beverly Hills, Green eventually attended colleges in Mexico, Germany and Spain. Returnin...

Biography

This creator of superb nature and science documentaries moved on to fictional films before finding steady employment on three of the most respected TV cop shows of the 1980s and 90s. Walon Green lived a rather nomadic early life. His parents divorced and remarried, often relocating as well. Raised in Beverly Hills, Green eventually attended colleges in Mexico, Germany and Spain. Returning to the USA, he joined the Air Force Reserve and there was introduced to classic films and documentaries in his spare time. After a construction job in Mexico and a brief career as a plumber, he landed a research job at Wolper Productions and began his career in earnest.

Green branched out to begin writing, producing and directing documentaries. He received two 1968/69 Emmy nominations for producing and co-writing the "National Geographic" special "Reptiles and Amphibians" and was again nominated for a 1969/70 Emmy as producer of "The Mystery of Animal Behavior" (also for "National Geographic"). In addition, Green worked on "The Amazon," "Birds," several Jacques Cousteau specials, and the Nazi-hunter documentary "Search for Vengeance." Green's feature non-fiction films included the uneven music outing "Spree" (1967, as director), his Oscar-winning look at insects, "The Hellstrom Chronicle" (1971, as producer, director and co-cinematographer), and "The Secret Life of Plants" (1978, as director and co-screenwriter).

His first fictional outing, as screenwriter with Sam Peckinpah for "The Wild Bunch" (1969), earned Green an Oscar nod. But big-screen follow-ups were disappointing. He scripted William Friedkin's "Sorcerer" (1977), a disappointing remake of 1952's "The Wages of Fear," and reteamed with the director for "The Brink's Job" (1978). Green co-wrote "The Border" (1981) for his friend Jack Nicholson and worked on the script for the unsuccessful teen sci-fi drama "Solarbabies" (1986). He spent more than a decade developing "Crusoe" (1988), a revisionist version of the Defoe classic. The final film, on which he shared screenwriting credit, featured a strong leading performance from Aidan Quinn, but it opened to a mixed reception. Green also co-scripted "Robocop 2" (1990) and Charles Russell's hit thriller "Eraser" (1996). He also appeared in the tribute short "The Wild Bunch: An Album Montage" (1996).

Probably Green's biggest successes, though, have been on the small screen. Since the 1980s, he has been associated with three of the more acclaimed cop shows on TV: "Hill Street Blues" (NBC, 1981-1987), on which he served as a coordinating producer and director, "Law & Order" (NBC, from 1992-1994), as writer and co-executive producer, and "NYPD Blue" (ABC, from 1993-1996) as creative consultant. He also co-wrote the TV-movies "Strange New World" (ABC, 1975) and "Three of a Kind" (ABC, 1989), and solo-scripted the biographical miniseries "Robert Kennedy and His Times" (CBS, 1985).

Life Events

1965

First film credit, as dialogue coach on "Morituri"

1966

Hired as researcher for Wolper Productions; stayed through 1970 (dates approximate)

1967

Directed first feature documentary, "Spree"

1969

Co-wrote (with director Sam Peckinpah) first feature screenplay, "The Wild Bunch"

1970

Began writing, producing and directing documentaries for the National Geographic Society

1971

Produced, wrote and photographed the Oscar-winning documentary "The Hellstrom Chronicle"

1975

TV-movie debut as screenwriter and executive producer, "Strange New World" (ABC)

1981

TV series debut as coordinating producer on NBC's "Hill Street Blues"

1988

"Crusoe" produced; Green shared screenwriting credit

1992

Served as coordinating producer on the NBC drama series "Law & Order"

1997

Joined the hit NBC medical drama "ER" as a writer and co-executive producer

1998

Scripted "The Hi-Lo Country", directed by Stephen Frears

Videos

Movie Clip

Wild Bunch, The (1969) - Shall We Gather At The River Part of Sam Peckinpah's preposterous opening, in which the prayer meeting enters the incipient shootout, Crazy Lee (Bo Hopkins) abuses hostages, and rivals Thornton (Robert Ryan) and Pike (William Holden) miss shots at each other, in The Wild Bunch, 1969.
The Wild Bunch (1969) - You're My Judas Goat After the disastrous failed bank-heist ambush, bounty broker Harrigan (Albert Dekker), working for the railroad, chews out the goofy crew (Strother Martin and L.Q. Jones as Coffer and C.T.) and threatens to send their angered leader Thornton (Robert Ryan), the former partner of the hunted Pike, back to prison, in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, 1969.
Wild Bunch, The (1969) - Even The Worst Of Us Riding into the home village of Angel (Jaime Sanchez), the bunch (William Holden as Pike leads Ernest Borgnine, Ben Johnson and Warren Oates) gets a grim update from Chano Urueta, a leading Mexican director and producer since the 1930’s, as crusty Don Jose, in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, 1969.
Wild Bunch, The (1969) - He Was After The Girl We’ve just met the grossly corrupt federal general Mapache (Emilio Fernandez) who’s taken over the Mexican home village of Angel (Jaime Sanchez) where Pike, Dutch, Sykes and the gang (William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Edmond O’Brien, Ben Johnson, Warren Oates) are hiding when Teresa (Sonia Amelio), his former fianceè appears, sparking more trouble, with Fernando Wagner as the German agent, in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, 1969.
Wild Bunch, The (1969) - Plain And Fancy They After the bank job, still in military disguise, the Gorch's (Warren Oates, Ben Johnson) tangle with Pike (William Holden) and Angel (Jaime Sanchez), and bad news about the loot sends Sykes (Edmond O'Brien) into a rant, in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, 1969.
Wild Bunch, The (1969) - When You Side With A Man Heading for Mexico, geezer Sykes (Edmond O'Brien) leads the gang over a dune, causing Tector (Ben Johnson) to snap, and Pike (William Holden) to crack the whip, his age showing, in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, 1969.

Bibliography