Alan Rudolph
Birth Date:
December 18, 1943
Birth Place:
Los Angeles, California, USA
Famous for:
Mortal Thoughts' (1991)
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Director of Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle


Alan Rudolph is an American film director and screenwriter. A protégé of Robert Altman, he worked as assistant director in Altman's “The Long Goodbye” (1973), “California Split” (1974) and “Nashville” (1975), and wrote the script for “Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson” (1976). Some of his films also produced by Altman, including “Welcome to L.A.” (1976), “Remember My Name” (1978), “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle” (1994, earned Palme d'Or nomination and two Independent Spirit nominations), “Afterglow” (1997, won an Aspen Filmfest Award and a San Sebastián International Film Festival) and “Trixie” (2000). He is also known for his partnership with producer Carolyn Pfeiffer as well as with actors Keith Carradine and Geraldine Chaplin. In 1984, Rudolph was handed the New Generation Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards.

The Rocket Man

Childhood and Family:

Alan Steven Rudolph was born on December 18, 1943, in Los Angeles, California. He is the son of the late television director and actor Oscar Rudolph (1911-1991). When he was 11, Alan made a screen appearance in the film “The Rocket Man” (1954), directed by his father. He later majored in business at University of California at Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California, but quit to study filmmaking. In 1967, he attended Assistant Directors Training Program at Directors Guild of America, Los Angeles, California.

Alan is married to wife Joyce Rudolph.



In 1969, Alan Rudolph began as an assistant director on the film adaptation of Frank Elli's novel, “The Riot,” directed by Buzz Kulik, and also on the Alex March directed drama “The Big Bounce,” starring Ryan O'Neal, Leigh Taylor-Young and Van Heflin. By 1970, Rudolph had made several short films set to rock-and-roll hits, which showed an early indication of his interest with musical themes and hope to use music as an inspirational component for his screenplay. He continued to serve as assistant director in the 1971 TV film “Terror in the Sky,” directed by Bernard L. Kowalski, and the television series “The Brady Bunch” (from 1971 to 1972), on which his father was one of the directors.

In 1972, Rudolph made his feature film debut as director, writer and producer with “Premonition,” executive produced by his father. The almost forgotten horror flick starred Carl Crow, Tim Ray and Winfrey Hester Hill. Rudolph's collaboration with his mentor Robert Altman began when he served as second assistant director on Altman's film adaptation of Raymond Chandler's book, “The Long Goodbye” (1973). He went on to assist Altman on “California Split” (1974) and the Academy Award winner “Nashville” (1975).

In 1974, Rudolph co-wrote and directed the horror film “Nightmare Circus,” starring Andrew Prine, Manuela Thiess andSherry Alberoni. He then collaborated with Tony Hudz to write the teleplay of “Alice Cooper: The Nightmare,” a conceptual television special showcasing the music of the “Welcome To My Nightmare” album by Alice Cooper. The show originally aired on ABC on April 25, 1975.

In 1976, Rudolph wrote and directed “Welcome to L.A.,” produced by Altman. The film marked his first outfit as director to attain substantial theatrical release as well as his first with actors Keith Carradine and Geraldine Chaplin. Chaplin was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a Valley housewife addicted to taxi rides. The same year, Rudolph also co-wrote (with Robert Altman) the screenplay for the revisionist western film “Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson,” directed and produced by Altman.

In 1978, Rudolph wrote and directed the thriller/drama film “Remember My Name,” starring Geraldine Chaplin as a woman returning from prison bent on interrupting her former husband's life. Under his direction, Chaplin won the Best Actress Awards at the Miami Film Festival and the Paris Film Festival. The film was produced by Altman.

Rudolph initiated his long affiliation with producer Carolyn Pfeiffer with “Roodie” (1980), about a truck driver who becomes a roadie for a traveling rock and roll show. The film also was his first work for hire. His second work for hire was “Endangered Species” (1982), a science fiction flick starring Robert Urich as a retired New York City cop and a recovering alcoholic who is involved with a mysterious case of mutilated cattle during a vocation in Colorado, which he also co-wrote (with John Binder). He then directed the feature length documentary, “Return Engagement” (1983), about the tour debate between Timothy Leary and G. Gordon Liddy.

In 1984, Rudolph directed and wrote the critically acclaimed comedy/drama “Choose Me,” starring Geneviève Bujold, Keith Carradine and Lesley Ann Warren. The film brought him International Critics' Award at the 1984 Toronto International Film Festival. The same year, he also helmed Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Melinda Dillon in the satirical comedy “Songwriter,” written by Bud Shrake and produced by Sydney Pollack. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song Score (Kris Kristofferson). Rudolph reunited with Kristofferson for the 1985 neo-noir film “Trouble in Mind,” which he wrote and directed. It brought Rudolph C.I.C.A.E. Award and Golden Berlin Bear nomination from the 1986 Berlin International Film Festival.

Rudolph directed Timothy Hutton and Kelly McGillis in “Made in Heaven,” a comedy/fantasy movie concerning two souls who cross paths in Heaven and then try to reconnect once they are reborn on Earth. He picked up a Golden Lion nomination at the 1987 Venice Film Festival for his efforts. The film was a box office dud. Rudolph closed out the decade by directing and co-writing “The Moderns” (1988), starring Keith Carradine, Linda Fiorentino, John Lone, Wallace Shawn, Geneviève Bujold, Geraldine Chaplin and Kevin J. O'Connor. The film received three Independent Spirit nominations, including one Best Screenplay for Rudolph. The film marked his sixth and last film produced by Pfeiffer as well as his last film to date with Chaplin.

Rudolph wrote and directed “Love at Large” (1990), a romance/mystery film starring Tom Berenger and Elizabeth Perkins, helmed Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Glenne Headly and Harvey Keitel in “Mortal Thoughts” (1991), a mystery/thriller film about a woman who is interrogated by the police regarding the death of her friend's husband, and directed and wrote the crime film “ Equinox” (1992), which starred Matthew Modine in dual roles of identical twins Henry Petosa and Freddy Ace. Around this period, Rudolph also made self appearance in the 1990 documentary film “Hollywood Mavericks” and Altman's 1992 film, “The Player.”

In 1994, Rudolph wrote with former Washington Star reporter Randy Sue Coburn the screenplay for “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle,” which he also directed. The film, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh as the writer Dorothy Parker, was an Official Selection at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Palme d'Or. It also earned Rudolph Independent Spirit nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay. Although “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle” was a critical success, it was not a financial success.

After a few years absence, Rudolph returned to the director's chair to helm Julie Christie, Nick Nolte and Lara Flynn Boyle in “Afterglow” (1997), which he also wrote. Christie was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Actress in a Leading Role. Rudolph himself received an Audience Award for Audience Favorite Feature at the 1997 Aspen Filmfest and an Alma Award for Best Screenplay and a Golden Seashell nomination at the 1997 San Sebastián International Film Festival. Robert Altman produced the film. Two years later, he directed and wrote the comedy film “Breakfast of Champions” (1999), starring Bruce Willis. The film received negative reviews from critics, but managed to earn a Golden Berlin Bear nomination at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival.

Entering the new millennium, Rudolph directed and co-wrote (with John Binder) the mystery/crime movie “Trixie” (2000), starring Emily Watson, Nick Nolte, Will Patton and Brittany Murphy. The film grossed $295,683 at the box office, against a budget of $20 million. He then wrote and directed “Intimate Affairs” (2002), a comedy/drama film based on the book “Recherches sur la sexualite archives du surealisme” by Jose Pierre. The cast included Neve Campbell, Til Schweiger, Nick Nolte, Julie Delpy, Robin Tunney, Jeremy Davies, Alan Cumming, John Light and Dermot Mulroneya. Also in 2002, he directed Campbell Scott, Hope Davis and Denis Leary in the drama film “The Secret Lives of Dentists,” adapted from the Jane Smiley novella “The Age of Grief.” the film was screened at several film festivals, including Sundance and Cannes, and had a limited release in America on August 1, 2003.

In 2005, Rudolph served as executive producer on the award winning short film “Hello,” which was directed and written by John Helde and starred Eric Stoltz, Susanna Thompson and Kevin Tighe.


  • Aspen Filmfest: Audience Award, Audience Favorite Feature, “Afterglow,” 1997

  • San Sebastián International Film Festival: Alma Award, Best Screenplay, “ Afterglow,” 1997

  • Berlin International Film Festival: C.I.C.A.E. Award, “Trouble in Mind,” 1986

  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association: New Generation Award, 1984

  • Toronto International Film Festival: International Critics' Award, “Choose Me,” 1984

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