J.J. Abrams

J.J. Abrams

Active - 1983 - 2023  |   Born - Jun 27, 1966 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Action, Adventure

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Biography by AllMovie

A prominent writer/producer of Hollywood features who later went on to make a name for himself as the creator of such popular small-screen hits as Felicity and Alias, J.J. Abrams has managed the rare feat of finding success in the all-too-often mutually exclusive worlds of both film and television. It was at the age of eight that the wide-eyed youth first discovered his love of film while on a Hollywood studio tour with his grandfather, and when the pair returned home, Abrams convinced his father to let him try his hand at filmmaking with the family's Super-8 camera. During the following decade, the young auteur grew increasingly comfortable behind the camera, and he continued to turn out his impressive amateur films at an exhausting rate. Later attending New York's Sarah Lawrence College and teaming with a close friend to pen a feature-film treatment, Abrams got his first taste of success when the screenplay was eventually adapted into the James Belushi comedy Taking Care of Business. In the following years, Abrams' career continued to gain momentum as he penned screenplays for such features as Regarding Henry, Forever Young, and Gone Fishin', and it was during this period that the ambitious screenwriter also began to try his hand at producing. As Abrams subsequently began to branch out by producing features that he had no hand in writing, such as The Pallbearer and The Suburbans, he also continued to write by contributing to the screenplay for Michael Bay's Armageddon.

Abrams next made his first foray into television as the writer and creator of the hit television series Felicity -- which also found the tireless Abrams stepping into the director's chair for the first time in his professional career. As the series progressed, he was publicly vocal about his frustrations regarding the limitations of the series, and after joking that the series would be more interesting if the titular character had a secret life as a spy, the seed was planted for his most popular effort to date. Premiering on television in 2001, Abrams' second small-screen effort, Alias, told the story of a beautiful young international spy's efforts to battle the evil Alliance of 12 while attempting to find a balance between her secret and social lives. Not only did Alias immediately connect with television viewers, but it also found Abrams growing increasingly into his own as a writer and director. Three years later, Abrams had yet another hit on his hands as the writer/producer/director of Lost, which had the dubious distinction of being the most expensive television pilot ever produced. A haunting tale of a group of airplane-crash survivors stranded on a mysterious island, Lost stood alongside Desperate Housewives as one of the hits that kept the faltering ABC network afloat, picking up Emmy Awards and Golden Globes. Back in the world of film, fans were no doubt surprised when it was announced that Abrams would be returning to the world of features to direct the eagerly anticipated action sequel Mission: Impossible 3, which would serve as his feature-film directorial debut.

Abrams would continue writing for TV over the coming years, penning the thriller series Undercovers, and the sci-fi series Fringe. He would also wear various combinations of the writer, producer, and director hats simultaneously for a number of projects, such as the hotly anticipated first-person monster movie Cloverfield in 2008, the massively successful Star Trek in 2009, and the drama/thriller/fantasy movie Super 8 in 2011.

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  • Got his first taste of show business when, at age 8, he toured Universal Studios with his grandfather. Also at 8, Abrams received a super 8mm camera and began making amateur films.
  • Met Matt Reeves, his collaborator on Felicity, at a student film festival when he was 13.
  • While a senior at Sarah Lawrence College, wrote his first feature-length screenplay, Taking Care of Business (1990) with Jill Mazursky, the daughter of producer-director Paul Mazursky (who produced the film).
  • As Jeffrey Abrams, had small acting roles in the films Regarding Henry (1991), which he also scripted; Diabolique (1996); and Six Degrees of Separation (1993).