John McTiernan
Birth Date:
January 8, 1951
Birth Place:
Albany, New York, USA
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Die Hard


John McTiernan was shot to prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s for directing the blockbuster hit movies “Predator” (1987), “Die Hard” (1989) and “The Hunt for Red October” (1990). For his work in the massively successful instant classic “Die Hard,” he took home a Hochi Film Award, a Kinema Junpo Award and a Blue Ribbon Award. After this, however, McTiernan dealt with the less successful movies “Medicine Man” (1992), “The Last Action Hero” (1993, nabbed two Razzie nominations), “The 13th Warrior” (1999) and “Rollerball” (2002). He also directed the sequel “Die Hard with a Vengeance” (1995), “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1999), the John Travolta/Samuel L. Jackson vehicle “Basic” (2003), “Nomads” (1986, also wrote) and “Run” (2008). His upcoming projects include “The Camel Wars” (2011), “The Chase” and “Deadly Exchange.”

McTiernan was sentenced to four months in prison in 2007 for lying to FBI agents about hiring a private investigator to spy on a business associate.

McTiernan and his current wife, Kate Harrington, have two children. He was once married to Carol Land (from1974-unknown) and Donna Dubrow (from 1988 to 1997).


Childhood and Family:

John Campbell McTiernan Jr. was born on January 8, 1951, in Albany, New York, to John McTiernan Sr., an opera singer who later had bit parts in several of his son's movies, and Myra McTiernan. An early interest in theater led the intelligent creative John to attend the Julliard School in New York and the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, where he began his film studies.

On October 12, 1974, John married Carol Land, who was an assistant director for 1986's “Balboa,” starring Tony Curtis. They later divorced and he married producer Donna Dubrow in 1988, but the marriage ended in 1997. John married Kate Harrington on July 19, 2003. He has a daughter named Truman Elizabeth McTiernan (born on June 3, 2000) and a stepson named Ethan Dubrow (born in 1966).

The Hunt for Red October


The son of an opera singer, John McTiernan made his theatrical debut at age 7 playing bit parts in his father's shows. After high school, he immersed himself in summer stock, where he directed, acted and designed sets until he began his film studies. After stints as a designer and technical director at the Manhattan School of Music, he worked on television commercials. He ventured to feature film in 1986 with the supernatural thriller “Nomads.” In addition to directing, McTiernan also took on the writing duty for the film. Still in 1986, he made his feature acting debut as Colonel Williams in “Death of a Soldier,” an Australian WWII film.

Although his first film was not a real success, Hollywood took notice of his effort. A year later, he was recruited to direct the movie “Predator” (1987). Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, the action movie enjoyed massive success at the box office. His next movie, “Die Hard” (1988), garnered the director even more attention. A surprise hit at the box office and an instant classic, “Die Hard” stared actor Bruce Willis and earned McTiernan several awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

McTiernan scored another huge box office triumph in 1990 with an adaptation of Tom Clancy's bestselling book “The Hunt for Red October,” which starred Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin. He was reunited with Connery two years later for “Medicine Man” (1992), a disappointing romantic adventure film set in the Brazilian rain forest. In between, McTiernan was credited as a producer for the Fox TV film “Robin Hood” (1991). He returned to the director's chair in 1993 to helm “The Last Action Hero,” which he also produced and was reunited with “Predator” star Schwarzenegger. The film, unfortunately, was considered an even bigger flop and earned McTiernan Razzie nominations for Worst Director and Worst Picture (shared with Stephen J. Roth).

“I think the action genre is particularly ripe for this kind of movie. Some people think they can make action movies by formula and have repeated the same thing time and time again. As a result, they have made the genre a fat target for a story like ours. Audiences have caught on to the formula so to make things interesting again we're having some fun with that. We use the audience's knowledge of the genre as the basis for our jokes.” John McTiernan (in press notes for “The Last Action Hero”)

1995 saw McTiernan revisit the “Die Hard” franchise when he directed and produced “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” which also starred Willis. The high profile assignment subsequently brought the director back into the spotlight, but marked his last hit before leaving filmmaking for several years. He made his return in the late 1990s by directing the movies “The 13th Warrior,” a historical thriller adaptation of Michael Crichton's novel “Eaters of the Dead,” and the remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair,” a moderate hit which starred Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.

After another hiatus, McTiernan resurfaced in 2002 to produce and direct a remake of “Rollerball,” a box office disaster starring Chris Klein, Jean Reno and LL Cool J. He then directed John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in the thriller “Basic” the following year.

McTiernan is set to direct an upcoming dramatic war movie titled “The Camel War,” which is slated for a 2011 release. He will also direct the upcoming projects “The Chase” and “Deadly Exchange.”


  • American Film Institute: Franklin J. Schaffner, 1997

Blue Ribbon: Best Foreign Language Film, “Die Hard,” 1990

Kinema Junpo: Best Foreign Language Film, “Die Hard,” 1990

Hochi Film: Best Foreign Language Film, “Die Hard,” 1989

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'Thomas Crown Affair 2' Is Written Says McTiernan
SP_COP - April 29, 2014 -
Speaking to Empire magazine, John McTiernan, the director of the classic DIE HARD, has announced he has written a sequel to his highly entertaining 1999 remake of THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR. The 199 effo...
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Die Hard director John McTiernan says his films are 'embarrassing'
SP_COP - April 28, 2014 -
'Die Hard' director John McTiernan finds his movies ''embarrassing.''The 63-year-old filmmaker - who has given his first interview since release from prison in February - is best known for his action...
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
© Touchstone Pictures