Randal Kleiser

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Randal Kleiser
John Randal Kleiser

(1946-07-20) July 20, 1946 (age 77)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
Occupation(s)Film 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.


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

As a freshman at the University of Southern California, he 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, the 1973 short Peege about a grandson's bond with his ailing grandmother,[6] launched his career and was selected for preservation by the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2007.[7] He also directed an animated short that year called Foot Fetish (which was later aired on Saturday Night Live a decade later).[8]

Kleiser directed several television movies in the mid-1970s, including Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (1975), The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976), which starred John Travolta, and the Emmy Award-winning The Gathering (1977). Kleiser 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.[9]

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).[10] In 1996, he wrote and directed It's My Party. 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). In 1987, he had an agreement 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.[11]

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.

Kleiser is openly gay.[12]


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 Yes 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 Yes No Yes
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 film

Acting credits[edit]

Year Title Role
1981 Rich and Famous Literary Party Guest
1988 Big Top Pee-wee Popcorn vendor
1996 Cannes Man Himself
1998 Susan's Plan Doctor #1
1999 Crazy in Alabama Bob
2002 Circuit Doctor

Short films[edit]

Filmmaking credits[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1973 Peege Yes Yes No Also editor
Foot Fetish Yes Yes Yes Shortlisted for Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film
1994 Honey, I Shrunk the Audience Yes No No Theme park film
2017 The Speech JFK Never Gave Yes Yes Yes
2019 Defrost: The Virtual Series Yes Yes Yes 12-Episode VR Series
2019 Grease XR Yes No No Volumetric capture Short

Acting credits[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1962 The Pursuit The Pursuer
1964 Captain America vs. The Mutant Steve Rogers / Captain America
1966 Freiheit Boy

Other credits[edit]

Year Title Role
1967 Glut Editor
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 Yes 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 Yes Yes


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


  1. ^ a b "Randal Kleiser Biography (1946-)". www.filmreference.com. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  2. ^ "2006 Hall of Fame Inductions". Radnor High School. Retrieved 2013-03-21.
  3. ^ "Out of 'Grease' Into 'The Blue Lagoon'; 'The Blue Lagoon' (Published 1980)". 1980-06-15. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  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. ^ Peege (clip), retrieved 2023-08-03
  7. ^ "Librarian of Congress Announces National Film Registry Selections for 2007". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
  8. ^ "Cartoons Considered For An Academy Award 1973 |". cartoonresearch.com. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  9. ^ Klassen, Anna (August 27, 2015). "'Grease' Director Spills 15 Secrets From The Film". Bustle. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Kleiser to produce low-budget pictures for Management Co". Variety. 1987-10-14. p. 26.
  12. ^ 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]