Lawrence Kasdan

Responsible for writing some of the biggest blockbusters in Hollywood history, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was also an accomplished director who specialized in helming poignant ensemble character dramas. Kasdan first broke into Hollywood with the script for "The Bodyguard" (1992), which he sold in 1976, only to watch it languish in development hell for almost two decades, before becoming a blockbuster starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. Meanwhile, his script for "Continental Divide" (1981) captured the attention of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, the latter of whom hired Kasdan to write "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" (1980), widely considered to be the best film in the franchise. He collaborated with Spielberg and Lucas again on "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), a splashy action adventure that harkened back to the 1930s Saturday matinee serials. He next made his directorial debut with the steaming erotic noir "Body Heat" (1981), after which he wrote "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" (1983). Kasdan earned considerable acclaim for writing and directing "The Big Chill" (1983) before delivering a well-received update of the Western with "Silverado" (1985). After returning to form with "The Accidental Tourist" (1988) and "Grand Canyon" (1991), Kasdan also wrote the screenplays for such films as "Wyatt Earp" (1994) and "Dreamcatcher" (2003). Though he led a quiet life in later years, Kasdan's reputation as an exquisite craftsman still remained strong.