Lawrence Kasdan (born 14 January 1949, Miami, Florida) is an Jewish-American movie producer, director and screenwriter. Raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he graduated from Morgantown High School in 1966, he went on to attend the University of Michigan as an education major.
After working as a freelance advertising copywriter, Kasdan's introduction into the film business came in the mid-1970s when he sold his script for The Bodyguard to Warner Bros. as a vehicle for Diana Ross. The script became stuck in "development hell" and became one of several scripts successively called "the best un-made film in Hollywood". George Lucas commissioned Kasdan in 1979 to complete the screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back after the death of Leigh Brackett. Lucas then commissioned Kasdan to write the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark and the last of installments of the Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi. Kasdan made his directing debut with Body Heat in 1981.
He made a cameo appearance in James L. Brooks' comedy As Good As It Gets as the fed-up psychiatrist of Jack Nicholson's novelist.
Kasdan is the father of director Jake Kasdan.
His credits include:
Dreamcatcher (2003) (writer, director) Mumford (1999) (writer, director) French Kiss (1995) (director) Wyatt Earp (1994) (director, writer and producer) The Bodyguard (1992) (writer and producer) Grand Canyon (1991) (writer, director, and producer) The Accidental Tourist (1988) (writer, director, and producer) Silverado (1985) (writer, director, and producer) The Big Chill (1983) (writer, director, and executive producer) Return of the Jedi (1983) (writer) Continental Divide (1981) (writer) Body Heat (1981) (director and writer) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (writer) The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (writer)