John Randal Kleiser
July 20, 1946
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter|
Kleiser was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Harriet Kelly (née Means) and John Raymond Kleiser. He was raised in the Pennsylvania Dutch community in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Kleiser attended Radnor High School.
Kleiser directed several television movies in the mid-1970s, including 1975's Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway and 1976's The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, which starred John Travolta. Kleiser was then tapped to direct his first feature film, the 1978 film Grease, in large part because of Travolta's recommendation based on their work together on The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Kleiser would go on to direct several more feature films, including The Blue Lagoon (1980) with Brooke Shields, Summer Lovers (1982) with Daryl Hannah, Grandview, U.S.A. (1984) with Jamie Lee Curtis, Flight of the Navigator (1986), featuring the first use of digital morphing in a film, Big Top Pee-wee (1988), White Fang (1991) and Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992).
In London, Kleiser directed the comedy Getting It Right (1989), starring Jesse Birdsall, Lynn Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter, Jane Horrocks and Sir John Gielgud. In 1996, he wrote and directed It's My Party, starring Eric Roberts, Gregory Harrison, Lee Grant, Bruce Davison and Marlee Matlin. As a writer-producer, he was responsible for the surfing film North Shore (1987) for Universal Pictures. He also directed the thriller Shadow of Doubt (1998) with Melanie Griffith and Tom Berenger. Working in 70mm 3-D, he directed Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (1995) for the Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo and Paris, re-teaming up with most of the principal actors from Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. His television films include The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976) with John Travolta, the Emmy-Award-winning The Gathering (1977) and Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (1976).
As a freshman at the University of Southern California, Kleiser appeared in George Lucas' student film Freiheit. (Kleiser also lived in the house that Lucas was renting at the time.) Kleiser's award-winning Master's thesis film Peege launched his career; he graduated in 1968. He has taught a graduate workshop at USC and Masters Directing Classes for European students at film festivals in Deuville and Sarlat, and Malaga. He serves as a judge on the Student Awards for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; and, as chairman of the Academic Subcommittee for the Directors Guild of America, he inaugurated a videoconferencing program to connect film classes with working directors. Working with the Graphics Lab at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, he has co-invented a digital Cinerama-like process called Vistarama HD.
Kleiser was the marshalling force in planning and filming Red Riding Hood (2004/2006). The work broke new ground in digital cinematography through the extensive use of interactive virtual sets. During 2006 in Lisbon, this movie was released for its debut at the 1st International Digital Cinema Festival.
- Freiheit (1966) (short)
- Peege (1973) (short)
- Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (1975) (TV movie)
- The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976) (TV movie)
- The Gathering (1977) (TV movie)
- Grease (1978)
- The Blue Lagoon (1980)
- Summer Lovers (1982)
- Grandview, U.S.A. (1984)
- Flight of the Navigator (1986)
- Big Top Pee-wee (1988)
- Getting It Right (1989)
- White Fang (1991)
- Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992)
- Honey, I Shrunk the Audience! (1994) (short)
- It's My Party (1996)
- Shadow of Doubt (1998)
- Royal Standard (1999) (TV movie)
- Love Wrecked (2005)
- Red Riding Hood (2006)
- Nominee Best Director - Saturn Awards, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid
- Nominee Best Director - Saturn Awards, Flight of the Navigator
- "2006 Hall of Fame Inductions". Radnor High School. Retrieved 2013-03-21.
- The New York Times
- Canby, Vincent (May 5, 1989). "Getting It Right (1989) Review/Film; An Innocent's Journey on the Rocky Road to Miss Right". The New York Times.
- Pollock, Dale (1983). Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas. London: Elm Tree Books. ISBN 0-241-11034-3.
- Notable Alumni, USC School of Cinematic Arts Archived 2009-08-26 at the Wayback Machine.