George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones. Lucas is one of the American film industry’s most financially successful directors/producers, with an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion as of 2011. George Lucas was born in Modesto, California, the son of Dorothy Ellinore (née Bomberger) and George Walton Lucas, Sr. (1913–1991), who owned a stationery store. Lucas grew up in the Central Valley town of Modesto and his early passion for cars and motor racing would eventually serve as inspiration for his USC student film 1:42.08, as well as his Oscar-nominated low-budget phenomenon, American Graffiti. Long before Lucas became obsessed with film making, he wanted to be a race-car driver, and he spent most of his high school years racing on the underground circuit at fairgrounds and hanging out at garages. However, a near-fatal accident in his souped-up Autobianchi Bianchina on June 12, 1962, just days before his high school graduation, quickly changed his mind. Instead of racing, he attended Modesto Junior College and later got accepted into a junior college to study anthropology. While taking liberal arts courses, he developed a passion for cinematography and camera tricks. George Lucas graduated from USC in California.
Robert Emerson “Bob” Clampett was an American animator, producer, director, and puppeteer best known for his work on the Looney Tunes animated series from Warner Bros., and the television shows Time for Beany and Beany and Cecil. Clampett was born and raised not far from Hollywood, and early on expressed an interest in animation and puppetry. After leaving high school a few months shy of graduating in 1931, Clampett joined the team at Harman-Ising Productions and began working on the studio’s newest short subjects, titled Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. Clampett was promoted to a directorial position in 1937 and during his fifteen years at the studio, directed 84 cartoons later deemed classic and designed some of the studio’s most famous characters, including Porky Pig and Tweety. Among Clampett’s most acclaimed films are Porky in Wackyland (1938), Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943) and The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (1946). Clampett left Warner Bros. Cartoons in 1946 and turned his attention to television, creating the famous puppet show Time for Beany in 1949. A later animated version of the series, titled Beany and Cecil, ran on ABC for five years beginning in 1962 and ending in 1967, which was well loved by millions, and credited “a Bob Clampett Cartoon”.
Edgar Howard Wright is an English film and television director and writer. He is most famous for his work with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on the films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, the TV series Spaced, and for directing the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and co-writing Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin with Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat (the writer of Doctor Who and Sherlock). Wright was born in Poole, Dorset, but grew up predominantly in Wells, Somerset, after his family moved there during his childhood. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, Wright directed many short films, first on a Super-8 camera which was a gift from a family member and later on a Video-8 camcorder won in a competition on the television programme Going Live. These films were mostly comedic pastiches of popular genres, such as the super hero-inspired Carbolic Soap and Dirty Harry tribute Dead Right (the latter of which was eventually featured on the DVD release of Hot Fuzz).
Seth Rogen is a Canadian stand-up comedian, actor, producer, director, screenwriter, and voice artist. Rogen began his career doing stand-up comedy during his teen years, winning the Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest in 1998. While still living in his native Vancouver, Rogen landed a small part in Freaks and Geeks. Shortly after Rogen moved to Los Angeles for his role, Freaks and Geeks was officially canceled after one season due to poor ratings. Rogen later got a part on the equally short-lived Undeclared, which also hired him as a staff writer. After landing his job as a staff writer on the final season of Da Ali G Show, for which Rogen and the other writers received their Emmy Award nomination, Rogen was guided by film producer Judd Apatow toward a film career. Rogen was cast in a major supporting role and credited as a co-producer in Apatow’s directorial debut, The 40-Year-Old Virgin. After Rogen received critical praise for his performance, Universal Pictures agreed to cast him as the lead in Apatow’s directorial feature films Knocked Up and Funny People. Rogen and his comedy partner Evan Goldberg co-wrote the films Superbad, Pineapple Express, and The Green Hornet. Rogen has done voice work for the films Horton Hears a Who!, Kung Fu Panda, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Paul. Rogen married fellow screenwriter Lauren Miller in October 2011.
Robert Reiner is an American actor, director, and producer. As an actor, Reiner first came from national prominence as Michael “Meathead” Stivic, son-in-law of Archie and Edith Bunker (played by Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton), on All in the Family. That role earned him two Emmy Awards during the 1970s. As a director, Reiner was recognized by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) with nominations for Stand by Me, When Harry Met Sally…, and A Few Good Men. He also directed Misery, The Princess Bride and This Is Spinal Tap. He studied at the UCLA Film School. Reiner began his career writing for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968 and 1969. A few years later, Reiner became famous playing Michael Stivic, Archie Bunker’s liberal son-in-law, on Norman Lear’s 1970s sitcom All in the Family, which was the most-watched television program in the United States for five seasons (1971–1976). The character’s nickname became closely associated with him, even after he had left the role and went on build a high-profile career as a director. Reiner has stated, “I could win the Nobel Prize and they’d write ‘Meathead wins the Nobel Prize’.” Beginning in the 1980s, Reiner became known as a director of successful Hollywood films. Some of these films—The Princess Bride, Stand by Me, and This Is Spinal Tap— remain highly popular with fans. He often collaborates with film editor Robert Leighton, whom he also shares with fellow director-actor Christopher Guest as their go-to editor.
John Wilden Hughes, Jr. was an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He directed or scripted some of the most successful films of the 1980s and 1990s, including National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind of Wonderful, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, Home Alone, and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He is known as the king of teen movies as well as helping launch the careers of actors including Michael Keaton, Bill Paxton, Matthew Broderick, Macaulay Culkin, John Candy, Molly Ringwald, and the up-and-coming actors collectively nicknamed the Brat Pack. After dropping out of the Arizona State University, Hughes began selling jokes to well-established performers such as Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers. Hughes used his jokes to get an entry-level job at Needham, Harper & Steers as an advertising copywriter in Chicago in 1970 and later in 1974 at Leo Burnett Worldwide. During this time, he created what became the famous Edge “Credit Card Shaving Test” ad campaign.
Matthew Abram “Matt” Groening is an American cartoonist, screenwriter and producer. He is the creator of the comic strip Life in Hell as well as two successful television series, The Simpsons and Futurama. Groening made his first professional cartoon sale of Life in Hell to the avant-garde Wet magazine in 1978. The cartoon is still carried in 250 weekly newspapers. Life in Hell caught the attention of James L. Brooks. In 1985, Brooks contacted Groening with the proposition of working in animation for the Fox variety show The Tracey Ullman Show. Originally, Brooks wanted Groening to adapt his Life in Hell characters for the show. Fearing the loss of ownership rights, Groening decided to create something new and came up with a cartoon family, The Simpsons, and named the members after his own parents and sisters — while Bart was an anagram of the word brat. The shorts would be spun off into their own series: The Simpsons, which has since aired over 450 episodes. In 1997, Groening, along with former Simpsons writer David X. Cohen, developed Futurama, an animated series about life in the year 3000, which premiered in 1999. After four years on the air, the show was canceled by Fox in 2003, but Comedy Central commissioned 16 new episodes from four direct-to-DVD movies in 2008. Then, in June 2009, Comedy Central ordered 26 new episodes of Futurama, to be aired over two seasons. Groening has won 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, ten for The Simpsons and one for Futurama as well as a British Comedy Award for “outstanding contribution to comedy” in 2004. In 2002, he won the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award for his work on Life in Hell.