Carl Gottlieb

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Carl Gottlieb
Gottlieb in 2009
Gottlieb in 2009
Born (1938-03-18) March 18, 1938 (age 84)
New York City, U.S.
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • screenwriter
  • executive
GenreComedy, thriller
Notable worksJaws

Carl Gottlieb (born March 18, 1938) is an American screenwriter, actor, comedian, and executive. He is best known for co-writing the screenplay for Jaws (1975) and its first two sequels, as well as directing the 1981 film Caveman.

Early life[edit]

Gottlieb was born to a middle class Jewish family[1] in New York City, the son of Elizabeth, a medical administrative assistant, and Sergius M. Gottlieb, an engineer.[2]

Gottlieb studied drama at Syracuse University where he befriended Larry Hankin. [3] After graduating, he was drafted into the Army, serving as an entertainment specialist in the Special Services division from 1961 to 1963.[4][5] Following his discharge, he became a member, later in the 1960s, of the San Francisco improvisational comedy troupe "The Committee". They made one feature film: A Session with the Committee.


He began writing comedy for TV, contributing to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour for which he won an Emmy Award in 1969, The Music Scene, The Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family, and The Odd Couple. He also appeared on camera on Ken Berry's Wow Show variety summer television program in 1972. Minor acting roles have included Robert Altman's M*A*S*H and the film Clueless.

Gottlieb also cowrote David Crosby's two autobiographies, 1989's Long Time Gone and 2006's Since Then.


Gottlieb was hired as an actor to appear as Harry Meadows, the editor of the local newspaper, in Jaws. He was hired by his friend, Steven Spielberg, to redraft the script, adding more dimensions to the characters, particularly humor. His redrafts reduced the role of Meadows (who still appears in the Town Hall corridor and the Tiger Shark scene).

He wrote a book, The Jaws Log, about the notoriously difficult production of the film.[6] Bryan Singer has referred to it as being "like a little movie director bible".[7]

He was enlisted under similar circumstances to work on the Jaws 2 screenplay. He co-wrote the screenplays for The Jerk, in which he played Iron Balls McGinty, and Jaws 3-D. Gottlieb contributes to Jaws related activities, such as interviews (including the documentary The Shark Is Still Working) and attended JawsFest on Martha's Vineyard in June 2005.

Writers' politics[edit]

Gottlieb joined the Writers Guild of America in 1968 and became interested in Guild politics and with a desire to serve fellow writers following writers' strikes in the 1970s and 1981. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 1983, and re-elected for numerous terms thereafter, including two stints as vice-president (1991–1994). He was again appointed VP of the Writers Guild of America, West in 2004[8] and served until the following year.[9] In September 2011, he was elected as WGA-West secretary-treasurer.[10]

Filmography (as actor)[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1968 Maryjane Larry Kane
1970 MASH
1972 Up the Sandbox Vinnie
1973 The Long Goodbye Wade Party Guest Uncredited
1975 Jaws Harry Meadows
1976 Cannonball Terry McMillan
1979 The Jerk Iron Balls McGinty
1983 The Sting II Maitre D'
1984 Johnny Dangerously Dr. Magnus
1985 Into the Night Federal Agent
1995 Clueless Priest
2017 Decker Himself TV series, 1 episode


  1. ^ Gans, Herbert j. (1999). Making Sense of America: Sociological Analyses and Essays. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 326. ISBN 978-0847690411.
  2. ^ Carl Gottlieb Biography (1938-)
  3. ^ "Escaping in an el Camino: The Larry Hankin Experience by World of Walley".
  4. ^ Writer Carl Gottlieb on serving in the Army - Television Academy via YouTube. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  5. ^ Carl Gottlieb Biography (1938-) Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  6. ^ Valcourt, Keith (28 July 2016). "'Jaws' screenwriter Gottlieb says classic film still has its bite". The Washington Times. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  7. ^ Singer, Bryan. "Reviews". The Jaws Log. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  8. ^ Scott, Gabriel (23 March 2004). "Writers Guild of America, west Appoints Carl Gottlieb New Vice President". Writers Guild of America News. Archived from the original on 20 September 2005. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  9. ^ Scott, Gabriel (20 September 2005). "2005 WGAw Officer and Board Election Results". Writers Guild of America West. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  10. ^ Mitchell, Gregg (September 16, 2011). "Writers Guild of America, West Announces 2011 Officers and Board of Directors Election Results". Writers Guild of America West. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2019.

External links[edit]