Had prominent Hollywood director/producer Jon Avnet gone into business as originally intended, Hollywood may likely be a very different place today. The man who brought such memorable features as Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and The War (1994) to the big screen, Avnet deserves some credit for nurturing the careers of such future Hollywood players as Kathy Bates and Elijah Wood. A native of Brooklyn, NY, who was steered toward filmmaking after winning a directing fellowship at the American Film Institute, Avnet's early success came as a producer. Frequently teaming with longtime collaborators Steve Tisch and Jordan Kerner for such popular 1980s efforts as Risky Business (1983), The Burning Bed (1984), and Less Than Zero (1987), that decade also found Avnet making his directorial debut with the made-for-television drama Between Two Women (again featuring Burning Bed star Farrah Fawcett). Though he wouldn't step into the director's chair again until 1991's Fried Green Tomatoes, success as a producer came often with films such as Tango and Cash (1989).
Regardless of his notable success in the 1980s, it was the 1990s that found Avnet truly coming into his own behind the camera. His films Fried Green Tomatoes, The War, and Up Close & Personal (1996) all possessed a warm glow in their telling of remarkably personal tales, and though the latter two may not have achieved the box-office success of his sophomore effort, his continuing work as a producer yielded such hits as The Mighty Ducks (1992) and George of the Jungle (1997). In 1997, Avnet moved into thriller territory with Red Corner (serving double duty as producer and director), and the millennial turnover found him blending his unique style of remarkably personal drama with factual historical events in the acclaimed made-for-television effort Uprising (2001). The tale of a Jewish uprising in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943, the movie was nominated for numerous Emmys and Golden Globes and ultimately took home an Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination. In 2002, Avnet would again step behind the camera for the pilot episode of television's Boomtown, and shortly thereafter he would produce the Gwyneth Paltrow/Jude Law sci-fi thriller The World of Tomorrow (2004).