Randal Kleiser

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Randal Kleiser
John Randal Kleiser

(1946-07-20) July 20, 1946 (age 75)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter
Years active1962–present

John Randal Kleiser[1] (born July 20, 1946) is an American film and television director, producer, screenwriter and actor, best known for directing the 1978 musical romantic-comedy film Grease.


Kleiser was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, the son of Harriet Kelly (née Means) and John Raymond Kleiser.[1] Kleiser attended Radnor High School.[2][3]

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.)[4]

Kleiser graduated in 1968.[5] His award-winning Master's thesis film Peege launched his career and was selected for preservation by the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2007.[6]

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 then was 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.[7]

Kleiser directed 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.[8] In 1996, he wrote and directed It's My Party, starring Eric Roberts, Gregory Harrison, Lee Grant, Bruce Davison, George Segal 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. In 1987, he had made a pact with upstart diversified film studio Management Company Entertainment Group to develop, direct and produce low-budget pictures that were financed by the studio, and he will shepherd indie projects of promising students and decided to build various international directors on its own.[9]

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 with most of the principal actors from Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. His television movies 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).

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 helped develop a digital Cinerama-like process called Vistarama HD.

Kleiser was the main 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.

Kleiser's house was used in the film Scream 3.

Kleiser was inducted into Radnor High School's Hall of Fame on October 20, 2006.

Kleiser was Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts' Filmmaker in Residence for Fall 2010.

Randal Kleiser is openly gay.[10]


Feature films[edit]

Filmmaking credits[edit]

Year Title Director Producer Writer Notes
1976 Street People No No Yes Italian: Gli esecutori
1978 Grease Yes No No Directorial debut
1980 The Blue Lagoon Yes Yes No
1982 Summer Lovers Yes No Yes
1984 Grandview, U.S.A. Yes No No
1986 Flight of the Navigator Yes No No
1987 North Shore No Executive Story
1988 Big Top Pee-wee Yes No No
1989 Getting It Right Yes Yes No
1991 White Fang Yes No No
Return to the Blue Lagoon No Executive No
1992 Honey, I Blew Up the Kid Yes No No
1996 It's My Party Yes Yes Yes
1998 Shadow of Doubt Yes No No
1999 How to Get There No Yes No
2005 Love Wrecked Yes No No
2006 Red Riding Hood Yes No No Also arranger of the song "Lil' Red Riding Hood"
2020 Life After the Navigator No Executive No Documentary making-of film

Acting credits[edit]

Year Title Role
1981 Rich and Famous Literary Party Guest
1988 Big Top Pee-wee Popcorn vendor
1996 Cannes Man Director
1998 Susan's Plan Doctor #1
1999 Crazy in Alabama Bob
2001 Circuit Doctor

Other credits[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1975 The Legend of Bigfoot Cpi Documentary film

Short films[edit]

Filmmaking credits[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1964 Orgy Beach Party Yes Yes Yes Unfinished; also editor, camera operator and composer
1973 Peege Yes Yes No Also editor
Foot Fetish Yes Yes No
1994 Honey, I Shrunk the Audience Yes No No Attraction
2017 The Speech JFK Never Gave Yes No No

Acting credits[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1962 The Pursuit Unknown
1964 Captain America vs. The Mutant Steve Rogers / Captain America
1966 Freiheit Boy
1967 Glut Unknown Also editor

Other credits[edit]

Year Title Role
2001 The Princess and the Pea Production advisor
2015 Arctic Plunge Technical advisor


Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1974–1975 Marcus Welby, M.D. Yes No No 4 episodes
1975 Lucas Tanner Yes No No Episode: "Bonus Baby"
All Together Now Yes No No TV movie
1975–1977 Starsky and Hutch Yes No No 3 episodes
1976 The Rookies Yes No No Episode: "From Out of the Darkness"
Family Yes No No 2 episodes
Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway Yes No No TV movie
The Boy in the Plastic Bubble Yes No No TV movie
1977 ABC Weekend Specials Yes Yes No Episode: "Portrait of Grandpa Doc"; also editor
The Gathering Yes No No TV movie
1995 New York News Yes No No Unknown episodes
1999 Royal Standard Yes No No TV movie
2010 The Nina Foch Course for Filmmakers and Actors Yes No Yes 16 episodes
2019 Defrost: The Virtual Series Yes Yes Yes TV movie


  • Nominee, Best Director - Saturn Awards, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid
  • Nominee, Best Director - Saturn Awards, Flight of the Navigator


  1. ^ a b Filmreference.com
  2. ^ "2006 Hall of Fame Inductions". Radnor High School. Retrieved 2013-03-21.
  3. ^ The New York Times
  4. ^ Pollock, Dale (1983). Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas. London: Elm Tree Books. ISBN 0-241-11034-3.
  5. ^ Notable Alumni, USC School of Cinematic Arts Archived 2009-08-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Librarian of Congress Announces National Film Registry Selections for 2007". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
  7. ^ Klassen, Anna (August 27, 2015). "'Grease' Director Spills 15 Secrets From The Film". Bustle. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Kleiser to produce low-budget pictures for Management Co". Variety. 1987-10-14. p. 26.
  10. ^ Cobb, J. Matthew (September 23, 2016). "Famed gay director Randal Kleiser talks semi-biographical 'It's My Party,' Out On Film". The Georgia Voice. Atlanta. Archived from the original on July 16, 2019. Retrieved July 17, 2020.

External links[edit]