Duke of Groove
"I've always been schizophrenic. I've never been interested in limiting myself. I came to New York to be an actor and I became a film producer first. I only got to be able to act because I gave myself a job as a producer." Griffin Dunne
Actor, producer and film director Griffin Dunne, son of producer/writer Dominick Dunne and nephew of novelist, screenwriter, and literary critic John Gregory Dunne, was trained at the Neighborhood Playhouse and has starred in such films as "An American Werewolf in London" (1981), "After Hours" (1985; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical), "Who's That Girl" (1987), "My Girl" (1991), "40 Days and 40 Nights" (2002), "Snow Angels" (2007) and "The Great Buck Howard" (2008).
Dunne, who co-founded Triple Play Productions with Amy Robinson and Mark Metcalf in 1977 and co-founded (with Amy Robinson) Double Play Productions in 1983, produced the films "Head Over Heels" (1979; aka. "Chilly Scenes of Winter," starring John Heard and Mary Beth Hurt), "Baby It's You" (1983; starring Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano), "After Hours" (1985; won Best Feature Award at the Independent Spirit Awards), "White Palace" (1990; starring James Spader and Susan Sarandon) and "Fierce People" (2005; starring Diane Lane and Donald Sutherland). He also directed the Oscar-nominated "Duke of Groove" (1996), a 32-minute short film starring Kate Capshaw, Tobey Maguire, Kiefer Sutherland and Uma Thurman, "Addicted to Love" (1997; starring Meg Ryan, Matthew Broderick and Kelly Preston), "Practical Magic" (1998; starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman), "Fierce People" (2005; starring Diane Lane and Donald Sutherland) and "The Accidental Husband" (2008; starring Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Colin Firth).
On television, Dunne received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1996 for his guest performance as Bob, a paralyzed barbecue-obsessed photographer, in the episode "The Friend" of the NBC sitcom starring Kelsey Grammer, "Frasier."
More personally, Dunne has one daughter with model-turned-actress Carey Lowell and once dated Sophie Dahl, the granddaughter of Roald Dahl and actress Patrica Neal.
Childhood and Family:
Son of producer/writer Dominick Dunne and his wife Ellen Beatriz (later divorced from Dominick), Thomas Griffin Dunne was born on June 8, 1955, in New York, New York. The oldest of three, Griffin has two younger siblings, Alexander Dunne (born in 1957) and Dominique Dunne (actress; born in 1959), who appeared as the eldest daughter in the hit movie "Poltergeist" (1982) and was murdered by her boyfriend in October 1982. Their mother Ellen later founded the victims' rights organization Justice for Homicide Victims. Ellen was stricken with multiple sclerosis and died in January 1997 at age 64.
Griffin is the nephew of novelist, screenwriter and literary critic John Gregory Dunne and writer Joan Didion. He was primarily raised in Los Angeles and attended school in Colorado. In the late 1970s, at age 18, he skipped college and moved back to New York to study acting and become an actor.
Griffin was married to Kate Forte but the marriage was annulled. From December 9, 1989, to 1995, he was married to model-turned-actress Carey Lowell, with whom he has one daughter, Hannah Dunne (born in April 1990). He then dated Sophie Dahl, granddaughter of Roald Dahl and actress Patrica Neal, from late 1998 until they reportedly separated in March 2001. Griffin currently lives in New York and is good friends with Michael Keaton.
"Acting is what I originally wanted to do. Unfortunately, the business of being an actor is a lot more disheartening than the business of being a producer. As an actor, you're beholden to the material and taste of other people who are developing projects you may or may not get in. As a producer, you come up with the idea." Griffin Dunne
Trained by Uta Hagen at the Neighborhood Playhouse, Griffin Dunne, who began acting in a high school production of Edward Albee's "The Zoo Story," made his film debut opposite Beau Bridges in director Larry Peerce's Academy Award-nominated drama "The Other Side of the Mountain" (1975), which was based on a true story of Jill Kinmont (portrayed by Marilyn Hassett), who was paralyzed in a skiing accident in 1955. He then founded Triple Play Productions with Amy Robinson and Mark Metcalf in 1977 and went on to co-produce and act in "Head Over Heels" (1979; aka. "Chilly Scenes of Winter," starring John Heard and Mary Beth Hurt), a romantic comedy written and directed by Joan Micklin Silver based on the 1976 novel "Chilly Scenes of Winter" by Ann Beattie.
In the early 80s, Dunne co-starred with David Naughton, playing two American backpackers in England who are attacked by a werewolf, in writer/director John Landis' cult favorite "An American Werewolf in London" (1981). He also co-founded (with Amy Robinson) Double Play Productions in 1983 and subsequently released their first film that same year, "Baby It's You," written and directed by John Sayles and starring Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano.
Dunne teamed up again with Rosanna Arquette in Martin Scorsese's comedy thriller "After Hours" (1985). Starring as Paul Hackett, a New York word processor who experiences a series of adventures and perils in trying to make his way home from SoHo, Dunne received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical. The film, which he also produced, won the Best Feature Award at the Independent Spirit Awards.
The rest of the decade saw Dunne in the made-for-television movie "From Here to Maternity" (1985; starring Carrie Fisher, Lauren Hutton and Arleen Sorkin) and co-starring with Madonna in the James Foley directed comedy, "Who's That Girl" (1987), a modern-day adaptation of the 1938 Howard Hawks film "Bringing up Baby.” He also produced the Academy Award-nominated "Running on Empty" (1988), featuring River Phoenix, Judd Hirsch, Christine Lahti, and Martha Plimpton.
After producing Luis Mandoki's romantic drama film based on the novel by the late Glenn Savan, "White Palace" (1990; starring James Spader and Susan Sarandon), Dunne returned in front of the camera and played an English teacher in Howard Zieff's coming-of-age dramatic comedy "My Girl" (1991), starring Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky.
"Duke of Groove" (1996), a 32-minute short film directed and co-written by Dunne and featuring such names as Kate Capshaw, Tobey Maguire, Kiefer Sutherland, and Uma Thurman, received an Oscar nomination for Best Short Film, Live Action. That same year, he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his guest performance as Bob, a paralyzed barbecue-obsessed photographer, in the episode "The Friend" of the NBC sitcom starring Kelsey Grammer, "Frasier."
In 1997, Dunne made his feature film directorial debut with "Addicted to Love," a romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan, Matthew Broderick, and Kelly Preston that unfortunately met with harsh reviews. However, Dunne went on to helm a second feature the following year, "Practical Magic" (1998), a family fantasy based on a book by Alice Hoffman and starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. A television pilot based on the film, titled "Sudbury," was later filmed for CBS in 2003. It starred Kim Delaney and Jeri Ryan with Sandra Bullock serving as executive producer.
Meanwhile, Dunne directed "Lisa Picard Is Famous" (2001; starring Laura Kirk), in which he also starred as a filmmaker shooting a movie about an aspiring actress. He also had a comedic supporting role as the head of an Internet company in Michael Lehmann's romantic comedy film starring Josh Hartnett, "40 Days and 40 Nights" (2002).
After producing and acting opposite Michael Keaton in Michael Hoffman's Sundance-screened "Game 6" (2006), a film that depicts the historic 1986 World Series, Dunne directed "Fierce People" (2007), a film adaptation of a novel written by Dirk Wittenborn that stars Diane Lane and Donald Sutherland. He was also cast in two Sundance-screened films, David Gordon Green's film adaptation of Stewart O'Nan's novel, "Snow Angels" (2007; starring Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale), and writer/director Sean McGinly's comedy-drama "The Great Buck Howard" (2008; starring Colin Hanks and John Malkovich).
As a director, Dunne recently helmed "The Accidental Husband," a romantic comedy starring Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Colin Firth. It was released in the U.K. on February 29, 2008, and will hit theaters in the U.S. in August 2008.
Deep Ellum Film Festival: Pioneer Filmmaker Award, 2000
Independent Spirit: Best Feature, "After Hours," 1986