Alan E. Ball (born May 13, 1957) is an American writer, director, and producer for television, film, and theatre. He is particularly notable for writing American Beauty, True Blood and for creating Six Feet Under, work which earned him an Academy Award, an Emmy, and awards from the Writers, Directors, and Producers Guilds.
Ball was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Frank and Mary Ball, an aircraft inspector and a homemaker. He attended high school in Marietta, and went on to attend the University of Georgia and Florida State University, from which he graduated in 1980 with a degree in theater arts.  After college, he began work as a playwright at the General Nonsense Theater Company in Sarasota, Florida.
Film and television career
Ball broke into television as a writer and story editor on the situation comedies Grace Under Fire and Cybill.
Ball has written two films, American Beauty (1999) and Towelhead (2007), the latter of which he also produced and directed. He is also the creator, writer and executive producer of the HBO drama series Six Feet Under and True Blood. He was showrunner for True Blood for its first five seasons.
In 2010 Ball began work on a television adaptation of the crime noir novel The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston, to be titled All Signs of Death. In December 2010, after several months of pre-production, HBO cancelled production on All Signs of Death.
Ball has discussed his Buddhist faith in numerous interviews, noting how it has influenced his film making. In an interview with Amazon.com, Ball commented on the iconic scene in American Beauty with the plastic bag, stating, "I had an encounter with a plastic bag! And I didn't have a video camera, like Ricky does... There's a Buddhist notion of the miraculous within the mundane, and I think we certainly live in a culture that encourages us not to look for that." Ball has also discussed how his Buddhism has shaped themes in Six Feet Under and True Blood which he has substantially contributed to.
Ball is gay and has been called "a strong voice for [the] LGBT community". In 2008 he made Out magazine's annual list of the 100 most impressive gay men and women.
For his work in television and film, Ball has received critical acclaim and numerous awards and nominations, including an Academy Award, an Emmy a Golden Globe, and awards from the Writers, Directors, and Producers Guilds.
- 2000 BAFTA Film Award – American Beauty
- 2002 Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement – Six Feet Under
- 2004 Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement – Six Feet Under
- 2006 Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series – Six Feet Under
- 2006 Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series – Six Feet Under
- 2006 Writers Guild of America Award for Best Dramatic Series – Six Feet Under
- 2009 Writers Guild of America Award for Best New Series – True Blood
- 2010 Producers Guild of America Award for Dramatic Series – True Blood
- Specific citations
- ^ "Ball, Alan". Current Biography Yearbook 2011. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2011. pp. 36–40. ISBN 9780824211219.
- ^ "Ball, Alan (b. 1957)". Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- ^ Devaney, Sheila. "Alan Ball (b. 1957)". Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- ^ "Alan Ball". Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- ^ Alan Ball at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 2013-05-06.
- ^ "True Blood Minisode #2 Now Available".
- ^ Gelman, Vlada (February 27, 2012). "True Blood Boss Alan Ball to Step Down as Showrunner After Season 5". TV Line. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
- ^ "Alan Ball to Point Out All Signs of Death for HBO".
- ^ "TV: 'Six Feet Under' Creator Discovers 'All Signs of Death'".
- ^ James Hibberd. "'All Signs of Death' DOA at HBO". The Hollywood Reporter.
- ^ "Alan Ball Interview". Spiritualteachers.org. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
- ^ Parsi, Novid (2008-09-01). "Blood on his hands - Arts + Culture - Time Out Chicago". Chicago.timeout.com. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
- ^ Piccalo, Gina (2010-07-18). "'True Blood' runs through Alan Ball". Los Angeles Times.
- ^ "Alan Ball speaks with OUTTAKEs Charlotte Robinson".
- ^ "Out Magazine | Out 100 2008". Out.com. 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
- ^ Serafini, Matt (June 9, 2010). "Alan Ball Gets 'Set' for True Blood Season 3". dreadcentral.com.
- ^ a b Alan Ball at the Internet Off-Broadway Database. Retrieved on 2013-05-06.
- General references