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J. J. Abrams

J. J. Abrams
File:J.J. Abrams by David Shankbone.jpg
Abrams at the Time 100 Gala (2010) in Manhattan
Born Jeffrey Jacob Abrams
June 27, 1966 (1966-06-27) (age 49)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Education Sarah Lawrence College (attended)
Occupation Director, producer, writer, actor, composer
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Katie McGrath (1996–present)
Children 3

Jeffrey Jacob "J. J." Abrams (born June 27, 1966) is an American director, producer, writer, author and composer, best known for his work in the genres of action, drama, and science fiction. Abrams wrote and/or produced feature films such as Regarding Henry (1991), Forever Young (1992), Armageddon (1998), and Cloverfield (2008). He created or co-created a number of TV drama series, including Felicity (co-creator, 1998–2002), Alias (creator, 2001–2006), and Lost (co-creator, 2004–2010).

His directorial film work includes Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Mission: Impossible III (2006) and Super 8 (2011). He has also directed the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.[1]

Abrams' frequent creative collaborators include writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, composer Michael Giacchino, cinematographers Daniel Mindel and Larry Fong, and editors Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey.

Early life

Abrams was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, the son of television producer Gerald W. Abrams and executive producer Carol Ann Abrams (née Kelvin).[2] His sister is screenwriter Tracy Rosen.[2] Abrams is Jewish.[3] He attended Palisades High School and Sarah Lawrence College.[4]



Abrams' first job in the movie business started when he was 16 when he wrote the music for Don Dohler's film Nightbeast. During his senior year at college, he teamed with Jill Mazursky to write a feature film treatment. Purchased by Touchstone Pictures, the treatment was the basis for Taking Care of Business, Abrams' first produced film, which starred Charles Grodin and James Belushi. He followed that up with Regarding Henry, starring Harrison Ford, and Forever Young, starring Mel Gibson. He also co-wrote with Mazursky the script for the comedy Gone Fishin' starring Joe Pesci and Danny Glover. In 1994, he was part of the "Propellerheads" with Rob Letterman, Loren Soman, and Andy Waisler, a group of Sarah Lawrence alums experimenting with computer animation technology who were contracted by Jeffrey Katzenberg to develop animation for the film Shrek.[5] Abrams worked on the screenplay for the 1998 film Armageddon with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay. That same year, he made his first foray into television with Felicity, which ran for four seasons on The WB Network, serving as the series' co-creator (with Matt Reeves) and executive producer. He also composed its opening theme music.


Under his production company Bad Robot, which he founded with Bryan Burk in 2001,[6] Abrams created and executive-produced ABC's Alias and is co-creator (along with Damon Lindelof and Jeffrey Lieber) and executive producer of Lost. He later co-wrote the teleplay for Lost‍ '​s third season premiere "A Tale of Two Cities." As with Felicity, Abrams also composed the opening theme music for Alias and Lost. In 2001, Abrams co-wrote and produced the thriller Joy Ride, and wrote an unproduced screenplay for a fifth Superman film in 2002.[citation needed]In 2006, he served as executive producer of What About Brian and Six Degrees, also on ABC. Abrams directed and wrote the two-part pilot for Lost and remained active producer for the first half of the season. That same year, he made his feature directorial debut in 2006 with Mission: Impossible III, starring Tom Cruise. Abrams spoke at the TED conference in 2007.[7]

In 2008, Abrams produced the monster movie Cloverfield.[8] In 2009, he directed the science fiction film Star Trek,[9] which he produced with Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof. While it was speculated that they would be writing and producing an adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series of novels, they publicly stated in November 2009 that they were no longer looking to take on that project.[10] In 2008, Abrams co-created, executive produced, and co-wrote (along with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman) the FOX science fiction series Fringe, for which he also composed the theme music. He was featured in the 2009 MTV Movie Awards 1980s-style digital short "Cool Guys Don't Look at Explosions", with Andy Samberg and Will Ferrell, in which he plays a keyboard solo. NBC picked up Abrams' Undercovers as its first new drama series for the 2010–11 season.[11] However, it was subsequently cancelled by the network in November 2010.

In 2008, it was reported that Abrams purchased the rights to a New York Times article "Mystery on Fifth Avenue" about the renovation of an 8.5 million dollar co-op, a division of property originally owned by E. F. Hutton and Marjorie Merriweather Post, for six figures and was developing a film titled Mystery on Fifth Avenue, with Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot Productions,[12] and comedy writers Maya Forbes and Wally Wolodarsky to write the adaptation. According to the article, a wealthy couple Steven B. Klinsky and Maureen Sherry purchased the apartment in 2003 and live there with their four children. Soon after purchasing the apartment, they hired young architectural designer Eric Clough, who devised an elaborately clever "scavenger hunt" built into the apartment that involved dozens of historical figures, a fictional book and a soundtrack, woven throughout the apartment in puzzles, riddles, secret panels, compartments, and hidden codes, without the couple's knowledge. The family didn't discover the embedded mystery until months after moving into the apartment.[13][14] After Abrams purchased the article, Clough left him an encrypted message in the wall tiles of a Christian Louboutin shoe store he designed in West Hollywood.[15]


He wrote and directed the Paramount science fiction movie Super 8, while co-producing with Steven Spielberg and Bryan Burk; it was released on June 10, 2011.[16] Abrams directed the sequel to Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, released in May 2013.[17] Abrams will produce, under Bad Robot and with Bryan Burk, Earthquake for Universal Pictures. The film is being scripted by Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black, and while it shares a title and event with Universal's 1974 feature starring Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner, it will not be a remake.[18] On January 25, 2013, The Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm officially announced Abrams as director and producer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latest entry in the Star Wars film saga. Disney/Lucasfilm also announced that Bryan Burk and Bad Robot Productions would be producing the feature.[19]

Following the news that he would indeed direct Star Wars Episode VII, speculation arose as to Abrams' future with Paramount Pictures, with whom he has released all of his previously directed feature work and which has a first-look deal with his Bad Robot Productions. Paramount vice-chairman Rob Moore stated that Abrams will continue to have a hand in the highly successful Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises going forward.[20] Abrams announced at the 2013 D.I.C.E. Conference that Bad Robot has made a deal with Valve Corporation to produce films based on the video game titles Portal and Half-Life.[21]

On September 9, 2013, it was announced that Abrams will be releasing a novel, S., written by Doug Dorst.[22] The book was released on October 29, 2013.[23] In October 2013, it was announced that Abrams had taken over to direct and write the screenplay for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, working alongside Lawrence Kasdan following the departure of Michael Arndt.[24] Star Wars: The Force Awakens is expected to open in theaters on December 18, 2015.[25][26]

Personal life

Abrams is married to public relations executive Katie McGrath and has three children.[4][27] He resides in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California.[28][29]


Feature credits

Year Film Director Producer Writer Actor Notes
1990 Taking Care of Business Yes
1991 Regarding Henry Yes Yes Delivery boy; also co-producer
1992 Forever Young Yes also executive producer
1993 Six Degrees of Separation Yes Doug
1996 The Pallbearer Yes As Jeffrey Abrams
Diabolique Yes Video Photographer #2
1997 Gone Fishin' Yes
1998 Armageddon Yes
The Suburbans Yes
2001 Joy Ride Yes Yes
2006 Mission: Impossible III Yes Yes Feature directorial debut
2008 Cloverfield Yes
2009 Star Trek Yes Yes
2010 Morning Glory Yes
2011 Super 8 Yes Yes Yes
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Yes
2013 Star Trek Into Darkness Yes Yes
2015 Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation[30] Yes
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Yes Yes Yes Post Production
2016 Star Trek 3 Yes In development
2017 Star Wars Episode VIII Yes In development

Television credits

Year Program Credit Notes
1998–2002 Felicity co-creator, writer, executive producer, director, co-composer of theme music
2001–2006 Alias creator, writer, executive producer, director, theme music composer
2004–2010 Lost co-creator, executive producer, writer, theme music composer, director
2005 The Catch creator, executive producer unaired pilot
2006–2007 What About Brian executive producer
Six Degrees executive producer
2006 Jimmy Kimmel Live! guest director
2006 Avatar: The Last Airbender guest writer (Uncredited) The Drill
2007 The Office guest director Season 3, Episode 18
2008–2013 Fringe co-creator, executive producer, theme music composer, writer
2009 Anatomy of Hope executive producer, writer, director pilot
2010 Undercovers co-creator, executive producer, writer, director, theme music composer
2011–present Person of Interest executive producer, theme music composer
2012 Alcatraz executive producer, theme music composer
Shelter executive producer pilot[31]
Family Guy guest star episode: Ratings Guy
2012–2014 Revolution executive producer
2013–2014 Almost Human executive producer, composer [32]
2014 Believe executive producer [33]

Music video credits

Year Program Credit Notes
2009 "Cool Guys Don't Look at Explosions" Performer

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1999 Razzie Award Worst Screenplay Armageddon Nominated
2002 Emmy Award[34] Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Alias Nominated
2004 PGA Award Best Drama Nominated
2005 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top TV Series Lost Won
Directors Guild of America Best Director Nominated
Emmy Award[34] Outstanding Directing for a Drama SeriesPilot Won
Outstanding Drama Series[34] Won
Outstanding Writing for a Drama SeriesPilot[34] Nominated
2006 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top TV Series Won
PGA Award Best Drama Won
Writers Guild of America[35] Dramatic Series Won
2007 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Best Director Mission: Impossible III Nominated
BAFTA Award Best International Lost Nominated
PGA Award Best Drama Nominated
Writers Guild of America Dramatic Series Nominated
2008 Emmy Award Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
2009 Emmy Award Outstanding Drama Series Nominated
Writers Guild of America Long Form Fringe Nominated
New Series Nominated
2010 Emmy Award[34] Outstanding Drama Series Lost Nominated
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Best Director Star Trek Nominated
Empire Awards Best Director Nominated
PGA Award Theatrical Motion Picture Nominated
2012 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Best Director Super 8 Won
Best Writing Nominated
2013 PGA Award Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television Won
2014 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Best Director Star Trek Into Darkness Nominated

See also


  1. ^ "It's official: Abrams to direct new 'Star Wars' film". CNN. January 26, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Carol Ann Abrams dies, Producer, author was mother of J.J. Abrams". Variety Magazine. June 5, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2012. 
  3. ^ Berrin, Danielle (May 6, 2009). "Now It's J.J. Abrams' Turn to 'Trek'". Archived from the original on February 15, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b J.J Abrams Biography Archived 15 February 2011 at WebCite
  5. ^ The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks pgs. 55-56
  6. ^ Warner, Tyrone (May 11, 2010). "J.J. Abrams not worried about writers block on 'Fringe'". CTV. Retrieved June 29, 2011. [dead link]
  7. ^ "J.J. Abrams' mystery box". TED. March 24, 2011. Archived from the original on March 24, 2011. Retrieved March 24, 2011. 
  8. ^ J.J. Abrams Talks Cloverfield Sequel Archived 15 February 2011 at WebCite
  9. ^ J.J. Abrams on 'Cloverfield' Sequel, "We're Working on Something" Archived 15 February 2011 at WebCite
  10. ^ "J.J. Abrams on Star Trek and Cloverfield 2". February 23, 2008. Archived from the original on February 25, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2008. 
  11. ^ "NBC Picks Up New J.J. Abrams Drama Series". Archived from the original on February 15, 2011. 
  12. ^ Seigel, Tatiana (June 17, 2008). "Paramount, Abrams keep house". Variety. Retrieved June 17, 2008. 
  13. ^ Reagan, Gillian. "J.J. Abrams to Produce NYT's Fifth Avenue Mystery". New York Observer. Retrieved June 18, 2008. 
  14. ^ Green, Penelope (June 12, 2008). "Mystery on Fifth Avenue". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ Schwartz, John (December 6, 2010). "Monumentally Mystifying: Power of Secrets Inspires Public Art". New York Times. 
  16. ^ Pamela McClintock (May 6, 2010). "Abrams, Spielberg confirmed for 'Super 8'". Variety. Archived from the original on February 15, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2010. 
  17. ^ "J.J. Abrams Will Direct STAR TREK 2". NextNewMovies. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  18. ^ Fleming, Mike. "Universal, JJ Abrams Set 'Milk' Scribe Dustin Lance Black For 'Earthquake'". 
  19. ^ "Star Wars Is Being Kick-Started with Dynamite J.J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars: Episode VII". January 25, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2013. 
  20. ^ "J.J. Abrams directing 'Star Wars': What happens to 'Star Trek'?". The Los Angeles Times. January 25, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2013. 
  21. ^ Graser, Marc (February 6, 2013). "J.J. Abrams will develop 'Half-Life,' 'Portal' games into films". Variety. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  22. ^[dead link]
  23. ^ "Stranger". Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  24. ^ "J.J. Abrams to script as well as direct". Guardian UK. August 25, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  25. ^ "'Star Wars: Episode VII' script delayed". 
  26. ^ "Disney Chief Reveals 'Star Wars: VII' Casting Almost Complete, Says Film Is Already Shooting (Video)". Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  27. ^ "EW Gets the Stories Behind Those Goofy TV Production-Company Logos", Entertainment Weekly, December 7, 2001: "The title came to creator J.J. Abrams during a writers' meeting, and he recorded his children, Henry and Gracie (ages 2 and 3), saying the words into his Powerbook's microphone. 'That day in the office while editing,' says Abrams, 'I put together sound effects on my computer, burned a QuickTime movie on a CD, gave it to postproduction, and three days later it was on national television.'"
  28. ^ "Jj Abrams, Katie McGrath 4th Annual Pink Party to... – Picture 2072721". Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  29. ^ Director J.J. Abrams and wife, actress Katie – Media (3 of 46) Movie Premieres: 'Star Trek,' 'Angels, "Director J.J. Abrams and wife, actress Katie McGrath, parade on the red carpet as they arrives at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for the premiere of the movie 'Star Trek' in Los Angeles on April 30, 2009.
  30. ^ "Collider JJ Abrams producing star trek 3 & mission: impossible 5". 
  31. ^ CW Picks Up 3 More Drama Pilots Including JJ Abrams & Mark Schwahn's Shelter. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  32. ^ Hibberd, James (January 25, 2013). "J.J. Abrams' robot cops show gets pilot order". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  33. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (January 25, 2013). "NBC Orders J.J. Abrams Drama, Bill Lawrence Comedy to Pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  34. ^ a b c d e "The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences". Archived from the original on February 15, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2008. 
  35. ^ "Awards Winners". Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on January 18, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2007. 

External links

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