Happy birthday John Landis!

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John Landis (born August 3, 1950) is an American film director. He is best known for the films National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) and The Blues Brothers (1979).

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Landis was born in Chicago, Illinois to Shirley Levine and Marshall Landis. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was just four months old. He said in interview that the film The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was the film that inspired him to become a director. He worked as a mailboy at 20th Century Fox and soon enough was hired as a "go-fer" and then as assistant director for the film Kelly's Heroes (1970). (Image source)

In 1971, Landis made his directorial debut with the film Schlock (1973), a low budget satire. The film was a flop, and he didn't direct another until Kentucky Fried Movie (1977). The film was another satire inspired by sketch comedies like Monty Python and The National Lampoon Radio Hour.

In 1978, Landis landed work with Universal Studios, directing National Lampoon's Animal House (1978). The film was a hit, commercially and critically, and Landis went on to receive many more projects.

 

 

 

In 1979, Landis directed The Blues Brothers, starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. The film became one of the most expensive films of its time. Despite a lukewarm initial reception, it has become a classic comedy. It also featured some of the most preeminent blues and R&B musicians including John Lee Hooker, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin.

 

Not long after, Landis directed An American Werewolf in London (1981). In 1983, he directed the teaser and first segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie, but his portion received relatively poor reviews. His work was also overshadowed by the trial that took place after Vince Morrow and two children died in an accident on the film set. He was ultimately acquitted.

Despite this blow to his reputation, he directed Trading Places in 1983 to much acclaim. Not long after, he directed the video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

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Throughout the latter half of the 1980s and during the 1990s, Landis directed the films Coming to America (1988), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), and Blues Brothers 2000 (1998).

 

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He has also delved into television, helping to create the HBO series Dream On, including directing some of the episodes. He also directed episodes of Weird Science and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and more recently, Psych, Masters of Horror, and Fear Itself.

In 2007, he directed the documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project and recently has been associated with a film adaptation of Bat Boy: The Musical.

Films Landis has acted in include Kelly's Heroes (1970), Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), Death Race 2000 (1975), and The Muppet Movie (1979). (Image source)

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Sunday, 03 August 2014
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