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John Byrum

John Byrum

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: March 14, 1947 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Winnetka, Illinois, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, producer, TV series creator

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Midwesterner John Byrum studied at NYU's film school and entered the industry as a screenwriter with the forgettable "Have a Nice Weekend" (1975). He got his first chance to direct with the poorly-received "Inserts" (1975), which featured Richard Dreyfuss as a once-famous Hollywood director now reduced to shooting porno films. After penning the Diana Ross vehicle "Mahogany" (1976), Byrum wrote and directed "Heart Beat" (1979), the highly fictionalized, triangular romance of Beat writers Neal Cassady, Carolyn Cassady and Jack Kerouac. The film won a mixed reception, with most heaping praise on the lead performances of Nick Nolte and Sissy Spacek. The 1984 remake of "The Razor's Edge" (1984) featured comedian Bill Murray in a rare dramatic role. Byrum fashioned a lavishly designed production that, while adequate, paled in comparison with the original. Reviews were harsh and audiences stayed away. After the failure of the crass comedy "The Whoopee Boys" (1986, his last directorial outing to date), Byrum turned to the small screen. His TV output has hardly been prolific but it has yielded interesting, if spotty results. After debuting with the "Night Caller" episode of NBC's remake of "Alfred Hitchcock...

Midwesterner John Byrum studied at NYU's film school and entered the industry as a screenwriter with the forgettable "Have a Nice Weekend" (1975). He got his first chance to direct with the poorly-received "Inserts" (1975), which featured Richard Dreyfuss as a once-famous Hollywood director now reduced to shooting porno films. After penning the Diana Ross vehicle "Mahogany" (1976), Byrum wrote and directed "Heart Beat" (1979), the highly fictionalized, triangular romance of Beat writers Neal Cassady, Carolyn Cassady and Jack Kerouac. The film won a mixed reception, with most heaping praise on the lead performances of Nick Nolte and Sissy Spacek. The 1984 remake of "The Razor's Edge" (1984) featured comedian Bill Murray in a rare dramatic role. Byrum fashioned a lavishly designed production that, while adequate, paled in comparison with the original. Reviews were harsh and audiences stayed away. After the failure of the crass comedy "The Whoopee Boys" (1986, his last directorial outing to date), Byrum turned to the small screen.

His TV output has hardly been prolific but it has yielded interesting, if spotty results. After debuting with the "Night Caller" episode of NBC's remake of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1985), Byrum created, directed and co-executive produced the interesting 1991 NBC pilot "Murder in High Places," with a central character of a gonzo journalist loosely inspired by Hunter S Thompson. While the network passed on the series, Byrum had better luck with his sophomore effort, the critically-praised but low-rated "Middle Ages" (CBS, 1992), about a group of aging baby boomers in Chicago. "South of Sunset" (CBS, 1993), a detective show built around singer-turned-actor Glenn Frey, received only one airing before it was yanked from the schedule. The primetime soap "Winnetka Road" (NBC, 1994), set in the Midwest, had its champions, but viewers tuned it out and it too was quickly canceled. More recently, Byrum wrote scripts for the UPN series "The Watcher" (1995) and was the screenwriter for "Duets" a project originally set to star then-engaged Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt. After the couple's breakup, the project went into turnaround before it finally went before the cameras in 1999 with Paltrow now teamed with TV star Scott Speedman under the direction of her father Bruce.

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DIRECTOR:

5.
  Heart Beat (1980)
6.
  Inserts (1976) Director

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

1975:
Directorial debut, "Inserts"; also scripted
1985:
TV debut as writer and director with the "Night Caller" episode of NBC's "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"
1984:
Adapted and directed the remake of "The Razor's Edge", starring Bill Murray
1992:
Created, executive produced and wrote episodes of the short-lived CBS series "Middle Ages"
1993:
Executive produced, created and scripted "South of Sunset", a CBS series canceled after one airing
:
Penned the script for "Duets" (2000) which was to have paired Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow onscreen; film went before the cameras in 1999 with Paltrow starring and her father Brice directing; Scott Speedman had assumed the role earmarked for Pitt
1975:
Screenwriting debut, "Have a Nice Weekend"
1986:
Directed last feature to date, "The Whoopee Boys"
1994:
Served as executive producer, creator and writer of the NBC primetime soap "Winnetka Road"
1979:
Wrote and directed "Heart Beat", about writers Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac
1995:
Wrote episodes of the UPN series "The Watcher"
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Education

New York University: New York, New York -

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wife:
Linda Fiorentino. Actor. Divorced.

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