AVNET, JON (1949– ), U.S. producer, director. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Avnet grew up in Great Neck, Long Island. He began his entertainment career directing off-Broadway theater productions before winning a directing fellowship at the American Film Institute that steered him towards filmmaking. Avnet's early success in the film industry came as a producer. In 1977, he received his first feature film producing credits as an associate producer of Checkered Flag or Crash and Outlaw Blues. The same year, he co-founded Tisch/Avnet Productions with producer Steve Tisch. The fruitful Avnet/Tisch partnership produced films such as Risky Business (1983), which launched Tom Cruise's career, and the made-for-television success The Burning Bed (1984), starring Farrah Fawcett in a breakthrough performance. In 1986 Avnet joined forces with former abc executive Jordan Kerner to found the Avnet/Kerner Company. The Avnet/Kerner Company's first feature production was Less Than Zero (1987), adapted from the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name. After his success in the 1980s as a producer, Avnet made his directorial feature film debut with the surprise hit Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). Avnet continued to juggle his producing and directing efforts throughout the 1990s, directing The War (1994), Up Close and Personal (1996), and the acclaimed television miniseries about the Warsaw Ghetto, Uprising (2001). His notable credits as a producer included the popular Mighty Ducks trilogy, George of the Jungle (1997), and Inspector Gadget (1999). More recently, Avnet produced the television series Boomtown (2002), directing the show's pilot episode, and the sci-fi thriller Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004).
[Walter Driver (2nd ed.)]