Damon Laurence Lindelof
April 24, 1973
Heidi Mary Fugeman
Damon Laurence Lindelof (born April 24, 1973) is an American screenwriter, comic book writer, and producer. Among his accolades, he received three Primetime Emmy Awards, from twelve nominations. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Lindelof is best known as the creator and showrunner of numerous critically acclaimed television series, such as the ABC science fiction drama series Lost (2004–2010), the HBO supernatural drama series The Leftovers (2014–2017), and the HBO superhero limited series Watchmen (2019).
Lindelof was also a writer on the CBS crime drama series Nash Bridges (2000–2001) and the NBC crime drama series Crossing Jordan (2001–2004). He co-wrote the films Cowboys & Aliens (2011), Prometheus (2012), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), World War Z (2013), and Tomorrowland (2015).
Early life and education
Lindelof was born in Englewood, New Jersey, the son of Susan (Klausner), a teacher, and David Herbert Lindelof, a bank manager. Lindelof's mother is Ashkenazi Jewish, with family from Białystok, Poland. His father's ancestry included Swedish (where his Lindelof great-grandfather was born, in Välinge, Malmöhus), Norwegian, Spanish, and German. Lindelof celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in Teaneck, where he attended synagogue.
Lindelof went to Teaneck High School, a school whose diverse student body he credits with expanding his horizons as a writer. He has stated, "I was a Jewish white kid growing up in Teaneck, but at the same time, I had African and Filipino and Asian friends and to have that experience all through high school while getting an awesome education was wonderful." He attended film school at New York University, performing briefly in the band Petting Zoo, and moved to Los Angeles after graduating.
1999–2003: Early career and breakthrough
An early boost to Lindelof's writing career came in 1999, when he was selected as a semifinalist for a Nicholl Fellowship for his screenplay Perfectionists. Before this, he had worked on reviewing scripts at Paramount, Fox, and Alan Ladd studios.
In 1999, Lindelof began his professional career as a writer on the drama series Wasteland and the anthology series Undressed. He received further attention as a writer on the CBS crime drama series Nash Bridges, which he worked on from 2000 to 2001. He then wrote and produced the NBC crime drama series Crossing Jordan, which he worked on until the end of its third season.
2004–2010: Lost and commercial success
In 2004, Lindelof received further recognition and success as an executive producer and showrunner (alongside Carlton Cuse) on the drama series Lost. The series was praised for its unique brand of storytelling and strong characters. The first two seasons of the show were ratings juggernauts and the show never fell out of the Top 30 throughout its six seasons on the air. Lindelof's work on Lost garnered numerous awards and nominations throughout its run, including winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2005.
Lindelof and the Lost writing staff won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Dramatic Series at the February 2006 ceremony for their work on the first and second seasons. He was nominated for the WGA Award for Best Dramatic Series a further three times. At the February 2007 ceremony for his work on the second and third seasons, at the February 2009 ceremony for his work on the fourth season and at the February 2010 ceremony for his work on the fifth season. Lindelof and his co-writer Drew Goddard were also nominated for the WGA Award for Best Episodic Drama at the February 2008 ceremony for writing the episode "Flashes Before Your Eyes".
Lindelof and co-showrunner Carlton Cuse have been heralded as two of the first to truly embrace the changing times with things such as their daily podcast and being active in the fan community. A majority of the six seasons were met with critical praise, however, both Lindelof and Cuse were not afraid to address critiques on the show, be it through the podcast or other forms of media. However, Lindelof said in late 2013 that he would no longer be addressing those displeased with the way the show ended, stating:
And what do I do? I jump at the opportunity to acknowledge how many people were dissatisfied with how it ended. I try to be self-deprecating and witty when I do this, but that's an elaborate (or obvious?) defense mechanism to let people know I'm fully aware of the elephant in the room and I'm perfectly fine with it sitting down on my face and shitting all over me ... And here's my part: I will finally stop talking about it. I'm not doing this because I feel entitled or above it — I'm doing it because I accept that I will not change hearts nor minds. I will not convince you they weren't dead the whole time, nor resent you for believing they were despite my infinite declarations otherwise.
Lindelof was featured on a December 2008 episode of The Write Environment, a public television series featuring in-depth, candid one-on-one interviews with some of TV's most prolific and well-known series creator and writers. The interview is also available on DVD.
While approaching the end of Lost, it was rumored that Lindelof and J. J. Abrams would write and direct a film adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. Lindelof dismissed this in a Q&A with USA Today in late 2009. He commented, "After working six years on Lost, the last thing I want to do is spend the next seven years adapting one of my favorite books of all time. I'm such a massive Stephen King fan that I'm terrified of screwing it up. I'd do anything to see those movies written by someone else. My guess is they will get made because they're so incredible. But not by me." Lindelof later served as co-producer on the 2009 science fiction action film, Star Trek, which was directed by frequent collaborator J. J. Abrams.
2011–2017: The Leftovers, films, and critical acclaim
In 2011, Lindelof aided in development of the fantasy series Once Upon a Time, which was created by former Lost writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. He was not officially credited in the pilot. Also in 2011, Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci, and several other writers, contributed to the screenplay of the film version of the comic book series Cowboys & Aliens.
Lindelof co-wrote the screenplay for Ridley Scott's science fiction film Prometheus, which was released in June 2012 to commercial success. Lindelof also produced the 2013 science fiction action sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, and cowrote its screenplay with Kurtzman and Orci. Also that year, he co-wrote the screenplay for the action adventure film World War Z.
He co-wrote the screenplay for the science fiction adventure film Tomorrowland with director Brad Bird, based on a story by Lindelof, Bird, and Jeff Jensen. The film was in development for many years before being released in 2015.
In 2014, Lindelof co-created the HBO supernatural drama series The Leftovers with Tom Perrotta, based on Perrotta's novel of the same name. He also served as showrunner and executive producer throughout the show's three seasons. The series received widespread critical acclaim. Many critics referred to The Leftovers as one of the greatest television series of all time, with particular praise for its writing, directing, acting and thematic depth. Despite receiving average Nielsen ratings throughout its run, the series has developed a cult following.
In August 2018, it was announced that Lindelof would be adapting Alan Moore's Watchmen as a series for HBO. He had previously been quoted as saying it was his favorite graphic novel and a huge inspiration on Lost. The series, which features an original story set after the events of the graphic novel, premiered in 2019 to critical acclaim. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the series has a 95% "certified fresh" rating based on 112 reviews, with an average rating of 8.58/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Bold and bristling, Watchmen isn't always easy viewing, but by adding new layers of cultural context and a host of complex characters it expertly builds on its source material to create an impressive identity of its own." While HBO had not confirmed a second season following the show's broadcast, Lindelof stated that if there were, he would not likely be back for it, but instead have another producer step forward to tell another story set in this universe. Lindelof said he felt that the show was "not my story" and that "These nine episodes are sort of everything that I have to say at this point about Watchmen".
In 2020, Lindelof wrote and produced the horror thriller film The Hunt. The film attracted some media controversy for its political subject matter, and received mixed reviews upon release. After a wide release run for almost a week, COVID-19 regulations forced theaters to close, and the film subsequently played almost exclusively at drive-ins.
Lindelof is the writer of the six-issue comic-book miniseries Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk for Marvel Comics, which takes place in the Ultimate Marvel universe. It began publication in January 2006. Production was suspended after the second issue in February 2006 due to Lindelof's heavy workload elsewhere. The last of the scripts was submitted to Marvel in 2008 and the series resumed publication in March 2009.
Lindelof frequently collaborates with a tightly knit group of film professionals which include J. J. Abrams, Adam Horowitz, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Edward Kitsis, Andre Nemec, Josh Appelbaum, Jeff Pinkner, and Bryan Burk.
Lindelof is a self-professed Stephen King fan and has placed many references to King's work into Lost, as well as mentioning within the Official Lost Podcast that The Stand serves as a huge influence. Lindelof has been quoted as saying that the graphic novel Watchmen, written by Alan Moore, is the greatest piece of popular fiction ever produced, and its effect on Lost is evident many times in the show. He has also mentioned David Lynch's Twin Peaks as a big influence for Lost.
J. J. Abrams had often cited Patrick McGoohan's similarly allegorical sci-fi/spy series The Prisoner as another major influence on Lost. Lindelof lists his favorite six films, in no particular order, as Touch of Evil, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pulp Fiction, The Shining, Bambi, and The Godfather Part II. Lindelof is a fan of the television series The Wire, Breaking Bad, and Battlestar Galactica.
Lindelof married Heidi Mary Fugeman in 2005; the couple has one child.
Lindelof was at the center of controversy after tweeting, of the 2012 Aurora shooting, that he would be seeing The Dark Knight Rises and suggested that other filmgoers should stay in their seats after the credits for a moment of silence. Lindelof deleted his Twitter account on October 14, 2013, the date of "the departure" on his then-upcoming HBO show, The Leftovers. Lindelof stopped his final tweet in mid-sentence leaving his followers to wonder in regard to the significance. Lindelof's final tweet read, "After much thought and deliberation, I've decided t". Lindelof later said that he felt as though his time on Twitter was consuming him in a negative fashion and that he has no intentions of returning to the site.
Lost writing credits
- "Pilot: Parts 1 and 2" (1x01 & 1x02, with J. J. Abrams and Jeffrey Lieber)
- "Tabula Rasa" (1x03)
- "Confidence Man" (1x08)
- "Whatever the Case May Be" (1x12 with Jennifer M. Johnson)
- "Homecoming" (1x15)
- "Deus Ex Machina" (1x19 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Exodus" (1x23, 1x24, & 1x25 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Man of Science, Man of Faith" (2x01)
- "...And Found" (2x05 with Carlton Cuse)
- "The Other 48 Days" (2x07 with Carlton Cuse)
- "The 23rd Psalm" (2x10 with Carlton Cuse)
- "One of Them" (2x14 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Lockdown" (2x17 with Carlton Cuse)
- "?" (2x21 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Live Together, Die Alone" (2x23 & 2x24 with Carlton Cuse)
- "A Tale of Two Cities" (3x01 with J. J. Abrams)
- "I Do" (3x06 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Flashes Before Your Eyes" (3x08 with Drew Goddard)
- "Enter 77" (3x11 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Left Behind" (3x15 with Elizabeth Sarnoff)
- "The Brig" (3x19 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Through the Looking Glass" (3x22 & 3x23 with Carlton Cuse)
- "The Beginning of the End" (4x01 with Carlton Cuse)
- "The Constant" (4x05 with Carlton Cuse)
- "There's No Place Like Home" (4x12, 4x13, & 4x14 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Because You Left" (5x01 with Carlton Cuse)
- "316" (5x06 with Carlton Cuse)
- "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" (5x07 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Whatever Happened, Happened" (5x11 with Carlton Cuse)
- "The Incident" (5x16 & 5x17 with Carlton Cuse)
- "LA X" (6x01 & 6x02 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Lighthouse" (6x05 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Happily Ever After" (6x11 with Carlton Cuse)
- "Across the Sea" (6x15 with Carlton Cuse)
- "The End" (6x17 & 6x18 with Carlton Cuse)
|2010||Ollie Klublershturf vs. the Nazis||Yes||Executive||Short film|
|2011||Cowboys & Aliens||Yes||Executive (uncredited)|
|Star Trek Into Darkness||Yes||Yes|
|World War Z||Yes||No|
|2017||Bending the Arc||No||Executive||Documentary|
|1999||Wasteland||Yes||No||No||No||Episodes: "Defining Moments" and "Death Becomes Her"|
|2000–2001||Nash Bridges||Yes||No||No||No||Writer (5 episodes);|
Story editor (22 episodes)
|2001–2004||Crossing Jordan||Yes||Yes||No||No||Writer (9 episodes);|
Executive story editor (22 episodes);
Co-producer (22 episodes);
Supervising producer (13 episodes)
|2004–2010||Lost||Yes||Executive||Yes||Yes||Writer (45 episodes);|
Executive producer (116 episodes)
|2007–2008||Lost: Missing Pieces||Yes||Executive||No||No||Writer (3 episodes);|
Executive producer (13 episodes)
|2014–2017||The Leftovers||Yes||Executive||Yes||Yes||Writer (26 episodes);|
Executive producer (28 episodes)
|2014||Phineas and Ferb||Story||No||No||No||Episode: "Lost in Danville"|
|2019||Watchmen||Yes||Executive||Yes||Yes||Writer (8 episodes);|
Executive producer (9 episodes)
|2006||Lost||John Locke's Hand||Episode: "?"|
|2011||House||Kicking Man||Episode: "The Dig"|
|2012||Once Upon a Time||Bill Gozen||Episode: "7:15 A.M."|
|2017||The Leftovers||Man in Koala Suit||Episode: "G'Day Melbourne"|
|Lost: Via Domus||Yes||No|
Awards and nominations
|2005||Outstanding Drama Series||Lost||Won|
|Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series||Nominated|
|2008||Outstanding Drama Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program||Lost: Missing Pieces||Nominated|
|2009||Outstanding Drama Series||Lost||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series||Nominated|
|2010||Outstanding Drama Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series||Nominated|
|2020||Outstanding Limited Series||Watchmen||Won|
|Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special||Watchmen
Episode: "This Extraordinary Being"
|2006||Best Episodic Drama||Lost||Won|
|Best Theatrical Motion Picture||Star Trek||Nominated|
|2011||Best Episodic Drama||Lost||Nominated|
|2015||Long Form – Adapted||The Leftovers||Nominated|
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We’re all self-deprecating short Jews, with the exception of Bob Orci.
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He and his family attended the local synagogue on weekends and a 13-year-old Damon had his bar mitzvah in Teaneck. ... But he does say his childhood and Jewish background have added to who he is today. 'The area was culturally diverse and that is one of the reasons I loved it. I didn't have the experience of some other people I've met who say they were 15 before they saw someone who wasn't white or that they hadn't met a Jewish person yet.'
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Lindelof got into the production end of television while at Teaneck High School, where he worked on a start-up TV news program. ... What was cool about growing up in New Jersey, especially Bergen County, is it was very diverse. ... I literally went to high school with people of all different races and ethnicities and backgrounds. That broadened my horizons as a writer. It made me interested in other people's stories[permanent dead link]
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