Mark Johnson (producer)
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|Born||27 December 1945 |
Mark Johnson (born 27 December 1945) is an American film producer. Johnson won the Best Picture Academy Award for producing Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. The film, winner of four Oscars, also captured a Golden Globe as Best Picture.
Life and career
Johnson was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Dorothy (née King), a realtor, and Emory Johnson, who worked in the air cargo business. Johnson first became involved in show business in 1964, as an actor playing the sheriff's deputy in the Spanish "spaghetti western" Brandy, directed by Jose Luis Borau. He spent ten years of his youth in Spain, where he worked as a movie extra in films such as Franklin Schaffner's Nicholas and Alexandra and David Lean's Dr. Zhivago. His early experiences led to small acting roles in the European western Ride and Kill and the 1964 drama The Thin Red Line. After earning an undergraduate degree in Drama from the University of Virginia and an MA in Film Scholarship from the University of Iowa, Johnson moved to New York. There he entered the Director's Guild training program. One of his first projects was Paul Mazursky's autobiographical drama Next Stop, Greenwich Village. Johnson relocated to Los Angeles and worked as an assistant director on such projects as Movie, Movie, The Brink's Job, Escape from Alcatraz and Mel Brooks's High Anxiety, which was co-written by future business partner Barry Levinson.
In his successful partnership with Levinson, Johnson produced all of the writer-director's films from 1982-1994. In addition to Rain Man, their diverse slate of features includes Good Morning Vietnam, The Natural, Tin Men, Toys, Young Sherlock Holmes, Avalon, Diner (their 1982 debut project, for which Levinson's screenplay garnered an Oscar nomination) and Bugsy, which was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Bugsy also captured a Best Picture Golden Globe Award.
In 1994 Johnson established his own independent production company and won the Los Angeles Film Critics New Generation Award for his very first effort; A Little Princess, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Under his new banner, Johnson produced the comedy Home Fries, starring Drew Barrymore, and the dramatic thriller Donnie Brasco, starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. He also served as executive producer for CBS-TV's L.A. Doctors and Falcone, and for the hit drama The Guardian.
Johnson's recent slate of motion pictures includes The Alamo and The Rookie, both directed by John Lee Hancock; The Banger Sisters, with Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn; Brad Silberling's drama Moonlight Mile, with Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman; Tom Shadyac's supernatural thriller Dragonfly, with Kevin Costner and Kathy Bates; Levinson's Irish satire An Everlasting Piece; Robert Zemeckis's spooky thriller What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer; the hit comedy Galaxy Quest, with Tim Allen, Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver; and My Dog Skip, the acclaimed family drama (co-produced with John Lee Hancock) starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane and Kevin Bacon.
Johnson has either presented or executive produced Luis Llosa's directorial debut, Sniper, Tim Robbins's directorial debut, Bob Roberts, Steven Soderbergh's Kafka, Robert Redford's Oscar-nominated Quiz Show and Journey of Hope, winner of the 1999 Foreign Language Academy Award. Recent projects include The Hunting Party, starring Richard Gere, Lake City, starring Sissy Spacek, Ballast, the critically acclaimed debut of director Lance Hammer, and My Sister's Keeper, starring Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin and Abigail Breslin. He is working with Guillermo del Toro to produce Hater.
In 2005 Johnson produced The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, directed by Andrew Adamson and starring Tilda Swinton. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and three BAFTAs, winning one of each. In 2008 he produced a sequel, Prince Caspian. The third film in the Narnia series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, directed by Michael Apted, is currently in production and releasing December 10, 2010.
Johnson is a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Producers Branch).
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