Paul Schrader Biography (1946-)

Full name, Paul Joseph Schrader; born July 22, 1946, in Grand Rapids, MI; sonof Charles A. (an executive) and Joan (maiden name, Fisher) Schrader; married Jeannine Oppewall (a designer), divorced; married Mary Beth Hurt (an actress), August 6, 1983; children: (second marriage) Molly. Religion: Episcopalian. Career: Film screenwriter, director, and producer. Editor, Cinema magazine, 1970; film critic, Los Angeles Free Press, 1970-72; freelance writer and film critic. Taught at Columbia University. Member: Writers Guild of America--West. Awards, Honors: Two first-placeessays for contests in Atlantic and Story: The Magazine of Discovery, 1968; Palme d'Or, Cannes Film Festival, and Academy Award nomination,best picture, both 1976, for Taxi Driver; first prize, Paris Film Festival, 1978, for Blue Collar; Golden Globe Award nomination, best screenplay--motion picture, 1981, for Raging Bull(with Mardik Martin); Independent Spirit Award nomination, best screenplay, 1993, for Light Sleeper; Golden Spike Award, Valladolid International Film Festival, 1997, and Independent Spirit Award nominations, best director and best screenplay, 1999,all for Affliction; Independent Spirit Award nominations, best director and best screenplay, and Catalonian International Film Festival Award nomination, best film, all 1998, for Touch; Laurel Award for Screen Writing Achievement, Writers Guild of America, 1999. Addresses: Agent: William Morris Agency, 1325 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.

Considers Mishima his best directorial work.

Film screenwriter, director, producer
Birth Details
July 22, 1946
Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Famous Works

  • Film Work
  • Director, Unless Otherwise Indicated
  • Blue Collar, Universal, 1977
  • Hardcore (also known as The Hardcore Life), Columbia, 1978
  • Producer, Old Boyfriends, Avco Embassy, 1978
  • American Gigolo, Paramount, 1979
  • Raging Bull, United Artists, 1980
  • Cat People, Universal, 1981
  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Warner Bros., 1985
  • Light of Day, TriStar, 1987
  • Patty Hearst (also known as Patty), Atlantic, 1988
  • The Comfort of Strangers, Skouras, 1990
  • Investigation, 1990
  • Light Sleeper, Fine Line Features, 1992
  • Affliction, Lions Gate Films, 1997
  • Touch, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1997
  • Forever Mine, J&M Entertainment, 1999
  • Television Work
  • Movies
  • Director, Witch Hunt, HBO, 1994
  • Television Appearances
  • "Martin Scorsese Directs," American Masters (episodic), PBS, 1990
  • "Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer," AmericanMasters (episodic), PBS, 1990
  • Hollywood Mavericks (special), 1990
  • The Hollywood Fashion Machine (special), AMC, 1995
  • American Cinema (episodic), PBS, 1995
  • Screenplays
  • (With Robert Towne) The Yakuza, Warner Bros., 1974
  • Taxi Driver, Columbia, 1976published by Faber, 1990
  • (With Brian DePalma) Obsession, Columbia, 1976
  • (With brother, Leonard Schrader) Blue Collar, Universal, 1977
  • (With Heywood Gould) Rolling Thunder, American International Pictures, 1977
  • Hardcore, Columbia, 1978
  • (With L. Schrader) Old Boyfriends, Avco Embassy, 1978
  • American Gigolo, Paramount, 1979
  • (With Mardik Martin) Raging Bull, United Artists, 1980
  • (With L. Schrader) Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Warner Bros.,1985
  • The Mosquito Coast (based on the novel by Paul Theroux), Orion, 1986
  • Light of Day, TriStar, 1987
  • The Last Temptation of Christ (based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis), Universal, 1988
  • Investigation, 1990
  • Light Sleeper, Fine Line Features, 1992published by Faber, 1992
  • City Hall, Columbia, 1996
  • Affliction (based on the novel by Russell Banks), Lions Gate Films, 1997
  • Touch (based on a novel by Elmore Leonard), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1997
  • Bringing Out the Dead, Paramount, 1999
  • Forever Mine, J&M Entertainment, 1999
  • Also wrote Eight Scenes from the Life of Hank Williams, Covert Purple,Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Gershwin, Quebecois, Pipeliner, and (with H. Miller) Heaven Below; also worked on the screenplay of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (uncredited).
  • Other
  • Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer, University ofCalifornia Press, 1972
  • Schrader on Schrader, edited by Kevin Jackson, [London], 1989Faber, 1990
  • Contributor of articles to various periodicals, including Coast, Cineaste, Film Comment, and Film Quarterly.

Recent Updates

May 20, 2005: Schrader directed the film Dominion Prequel to the Exorcist, released by Morgan Creek/Warner Brothers. Source: New York Times,, May 20, 2005.

Further Reference


    • Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 26, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1983.
    • Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 44: American Screenwriters, Second Series, Gale, 1986.
    • Jackson, Kevin, editor, Schrader on Schrader and Other Writings, Faber & Faber, 1990.
    • American Film, April 1982, pp. 38-45; July-August, 1989, p. 16.
    • Cineaste, winter, 1978, pp. 34-37, 39.
    • Los Angeles Times, March 12, 1978, .
    • Millimeter, February 12, 1979, pp. 60-72.
    • New York Times, September 1, 1988, pp. C19, C21.
    • Premiere, April 1, 1992, pp. 98-106.
    • Rolling Stone, January 15, 1987, p. 25.*

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