Family & Companions
Willard Huyck perhaps remains best known for his Oscar-nominated screenplay to George Lucas' autobiographical feature "American Graffiti" (1973), which was crafted in collaboration with his wife Gloria Katz. The pair went on to had far less success as a director. Huyck and Katz have written such enduring Hollywood films as "American Graffiti" (1973), and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984), but as a co-writer and director he has been responsible for one of the most disastrous releases of all time -- "Howard the Duck." Huyck began in the entertainment business after being graduated from USC, starting as reader for Larry Gordon, then head of American-International Pictures. In 1969, Huyck collaborated with his college friend, John Milius, on the screenplay for "The Devil's Eight," which AIP released. He left AIP to devote himself to writing full-time, alongside Katz. They were hired by George Lucas to pen "American Graffiti," Lucas' autobiographical film about life during one night in a small California city in 1962. The result was a hit, an Academy Award nomination for Huyck and Katz, and the New York Film Critics Circle and National Society of Film Critics Awards. Huyck and Katz then decided that they would have more control of their projects if Huyck directed and Katz produced, besides their writing together. Their maiden effort in those capacities was "Messiah of Evil" (1974), a forgettable low-budget film. They returned to just scriptwriting with "Lucky Lady" (1975), which starred Liza Minnelli, Gene Hackman, and Burt Reynolds, and, again flopped. Huyck again directed in 1979 with "French Postcards," based on his experiences as an exchange student to France. The film received warm critical praise. In 1984 came "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (screenplay only). That same year, Katz produced and co-wrote with Huyck and Huyck directed "Best Defense," a war send-up starring Dudley Moore in which Eddie Murphy appears for 15 minutes. It was shunned at the box office. Huyck's "Howard the Duck" (1986), based on the comic strip about a cantankerous bird, lost more than $40 million at the box office. It was not until 1994 that Huyck and Katz again collaborated on a produced screenplay, "Radioland Murders," which was a modest success. In the interim, they did some work in TV. The duo executive produced and wrote "My Father's Homecoming," a TV movie for NBC (1988), and in 1989 collaborated on "Mothers, Daughters, and Lovers," a pilot for a potential NBC series about a mother who moves her two daughters to rural America.
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Had first script produced, "The Devil's Eight" in collaboration with John Milius
Had first script with Gloria Katz produced, "American Graffiti"; received Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay
Made co-directorial debut with "Messiah of Evil" with Katz; also wrote screenplay together
With Katz, collaborated on the screenplay for "Lucky Lady"
Co-wrote "French Postcards" with Katz
With Katz, co-wrote "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", based on a story by Lucas
Directed "Howard the Duck"; also co-wrote script with Katz; executive produced by Lucas
Executive produced and co-wrote TV movie "A Father's Homecoming" (NBC)
Returned to feature films as co-writer of "Radioland Murders"