Bronx native John Patrick Shanley studied educational theater at N.Y.U. before making a name for himself as a writer with his first published play Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. His big breakthrough came in 1987 with the screenplay for the romantic comedy Moonstruck. Boasting an all-star cast and several Academy awards, the film won Shanley his first Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. His other early screenplays include the episodic comedy Five Corners and the offbeat crime comedy The January Man. In 1990 he made his directorial debut by filming his script for Joe Versus the Volcano. A strange romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, the film is regarded as a box-office failure, but its uniqueness has found its way into the hearts of many fans. Sticking with writing, Shanley then adapted the book by Piers Paul Read for the adventure drama Alive, based on a real plane crash in the Andes mountains. He then wrote the screenplay for the cartoon We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, along with adapting Michael Crichton's Congo for the screen and cleaning up Robert Wiener's teleplay for Live From Baghdad. In 1998 he published the play The Dreamer Examines His Pillow and in 2002 a production company in France filmed a French-language version of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea.