Skip to main content

Kasdan, Lawrence Edward


KASDAN, LAWRENCE EDWARD (1949– ), U.S. director, screenwriter, producer. A University of Michigan graduate with a master's degree in education, Kasdan originally worked as an advertising copywriter and submitted his screenplays on the side. In 1976 he sold his first screenplay, The Bodyguard, but it was not produced until 1992. His big break came when Steven Spielberg took notice of his 1980 screenplay Continental Divide and introduced him to George Lucas. He joined Leigh Brackett to co-write The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Spielberg then recruited him to write the first Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Kasdan returned to the world of lightsabers in 1983 to pen Return of the Jedi (1983) with Lucas. Kasdan stepped behind the camera for the first time in 1981 with his directorial debut of Body Heat, which he also wrote. The Big Chill (1983) was written, produced, and directed by Kasdan and earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. In 1985, he acted in the first of a handful of small roles, portraying the detective #2 in John Landis' Into the Night. Kasdan wrote, produced, and directed The Accidental Tourist (1988), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. He and his wife, Meg Kasdan, co-wrote the Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay Grand Canyon (1991), and he directed and produced the movie as well. In 1992, The Bodyguard was finally brought to life, but with Kevin Costner as the lead, not Steve McQueen, as Kasdan had originally imagined. It was a huge box-office hit. Other well-known Kasdan projects include Wyatt Earp (1994), Mumford (1999), and Dreamcatcher (2003), based on Stephen King's novel. Kasdan has two sons, Jacob and Jonathan Kasdan, both of whom have followed in their father's footsteps by screenwriting, directing, producing, and acting.

[Susannah Howland (2nd ed.)]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Kasdan, Lawrence Edward." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 21 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Kasdan, Lawrence Edward." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (February 21, 2019).

"Kasdan, Lawrence Edward." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved February 21, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.