Randal Kleiser

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Randal Kleiser
John Randal Kleiser

(1946-07-20) July 20, 1946 (age 73)
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter

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


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

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.[4] 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.)[5] Kleiser's award-winning Master's thesis film Peege launched his career; he graduated in 1968.[6] 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.

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.



Year Title Director Producer Writer Notes
1964 Orgy Beach Party Yes Yes Yes Short film; also editor, camera operator and composer
1973 Peege Yes No Yes Short film; also editor
Foot Fetish Yes No Yes Short film
1976 Street People No No Yes Italian: Gli esecutori
1978 Grease Yes No No
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
1992 Honey, I Blew Up the Kid Yes No No
1994 Honey, I Shrunk the Audience Yes No No Short attraction
1996 It's My Party Yes Yes Yes
1998 Shadow of Doubt Yes No No
2005 Love Wrecked Yes No No
2006 Red Riding Hood Yes No No Also arranger of the song "Lil' Red Riding Hood"
2010 The Nina Foch Course for Filmmakers and Actors Yes Yes No Direct-to-video documentary film
2017 The Speech JFK Never Gave Yes No No Short film
Producer only
Year Title Producing role Notes
1991 Return to the Blue Lagoon Executive Producer
1999 How to Get There Poducer
2013 The Interrogated Short films
Long Lost Agent
Zombie Trail
The Adventures of Enrique Sanchez and his Quest for Love
Drug Addicted
The Irish Terrorist
The Human Experiment
She's Dead Dad
BBQ Best Friend
Mom, Irresponsible
Blind Date
Farm Radio
Rescue Mission
Playing with Fire
Not That Again
Redlight Promises
The Proposition
Family Reunion (AKA, Uncle Money)
Clear Conscience
Taking Responsibility
Lunch Money
TBA Life After the Navigator Executive Producer Documentary film
Acting credits
Year Title Role Notes
1962 The Pursuit Urknown Short films
1964 Captain America vs. The Mutant Steve Rogers / Captain America
1966 Freiheit Boy
1967 Glut Urknown Short film; also editor
1981 Rich and Famous Literary Party Guest Cameos
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
Technical credits
Year Title Role Notes
1975 The Legend of Bigfoot Cpi Documentary
2001 The Princess and the Pea Production advisor Short films
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 Urknown episodes
1999 Royal Standard Yes No No TV Movie
TBA Defrost: The Virtual Series Yes Yes Yes TV Movie; post-production


  • 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. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Pollock, Dale (1983). Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas. London: Elm Tree Books. ISBN 0-241-11034-3.
  6. ^ Notable Alumni, USC School of Cinematic Arts Archived 2009-08-26 at the Wayback Machine.

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