“There's a hardening of the culture. Reality TV has lowered the standards of entertainment. You're left wondering about the legitimacy of relationships. It's probably harder to entertain the same people with a more classic form of writing, and romantic comedies are a classic genre.” Nancy Meyers
Academy Award nominated screenwriter, producer and film director Nancy Meyers, sometime credited as Patricia Irving, rose to fame as the co-writer of the Goldie Hawn successful starring vehicle “Private Benjamin” (1980), her first of a string of collaborations with writing and producing partner Charles Shyer. She picked up her Oscar nomination and a Writers Guild of America Award for the outstanding screenplay. The pair went on to work together on “Irreconcilable Differences” (1984), “Baby Boom” (1987), “I Love Trouble” (1994) and the popular remake “Father of the Bride” (1991) and its installment “Father of the Bride Part II” (1995). Their partnership continued with the Disney hit comedy “The Parent Trap” (1998), which also marked Meyers' motion picture directorial debut. The couple, who have been married since 1980, became estranged in 1999 and eventually divorced. More recently, the recipient of the Dorothy Arzner Directors Award at the 2007 Women in Film Crystal Awards is known as the director, writer and producer of such box office successes as “Something's Gotta Give” (2003), “The Holiday” (2006) and “It's Complicated” (2009) as well as the director and producer of “What Women Want” (2000). Meyer's script for “It's Complicated” earned her a Golden Globe nomination. The Pennsylvania native began in Hollywood as a story editor and then became a production assistant for the television game show “The Price Is Right” before making it big with “Private Benjamin.”
Meyers is the mother of Annie Meyers-Shyer and Hallie Meyers-Shyer, who both appeared in their parents’ films “Father of the Bride” and “The Parent Trap.” Meyers currently lives in Brentwood, California.
Childhood and Family:
The daughter of Irving and Patricia Meyers, Nancy Jane Meyers was born on December 8, 1949, in Pennsylvania and grew up in the suburbs of Drexel Hill and Bala Cynwyd. She graduated from Lower Merion High School in Lower Merion in 1967 and later received a degree in journalism from American University in Washington, D.C. She moved to Los Angeles in 1972.
Nancy and film director, producer and writer Charles Shyer (born on October 11, 1941) have two daughters together, Annie Meyers-Shyer (born on July 12, 1980) and Hallie Meyers-Shyer (born on July 26, 1987). The couple married in 1980 and separated in 1999. They have since divorced.
Nancy Meyers briefly worked as a staff assistant at WHYY in Philadelphia before starting her career in Los Angeles as a story editor for Rastar Productions. Shortly after, she landed a job as a production assistant for the CBS game show “The Price Is Right” (1972). It was while working as a story editor at the film division of Motown Records in the late 1970s that she met and became friends with writer Charles Shyer, who had already amassed numerous television and film credits to his resume. Along with Harvey Miller, Meyers and Shyer joined forces to produce and write the screenplay for the comedy film “Private Benjamin” (1980), about a spoiled brat who joins the U.S. Army after her new husband dies and changes into an independent woman. Starring Goldie Hawn, the film, helmed by Howard Zieff, was a huge box office success. It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Hawn), Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Meyers also shared a Writers Guild of America Award for her script. “Private Benjamin” spawned an Emmy and Golden Globe winning television series of the same name starring Lorna Patterson as Private Judy Benjamin. The show ran from 1981 to 1983. Meyers was also credited as a character contributor on the show’s episode “Benjamin to the Rescue” (1981).
Meyers next executive produced and teamed up again with Shyer for the script of “Irreconcilable Differences” (1984), the feature directorial debut of Shyer. The movie, starring Ryan O'Neal, Shelley Long and Drew Barrymore, earned Long and Barrymore Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress -Comedy or Musical and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Meyers next contributed to the story of “Protocol” (1984), a comedy film directed by Herbert Ross that starred Hawn and Chris Sarandon, and co-wrote the screenplay for the comedy “Jumpin' Jack Flash” (1986), the film directional debut of Penny Marshall. She was then reunited with Shyer for the Diane Keaton comedy “Baby Boom” (1987), which she co-wrote with Shyer and co-produced with Bruce A. Block. The film, directed by Shyer, earned favorable reviews and performed well at the box office. “Baby Boom” was nominated for Golden Globes in the categories of Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical (for Keaton). A television series based on the film was made the following year with Kate Jackson replacing Keaton in the role of J.C. Wiatt. The sitcom, however, was a flop.
In 1991, Meyers co-produced and co-wrote “Father of the Bride,” a remake of the 1950 Vincente Minnelli film of the same title. The remake, starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton that was directed by Shyer, was positively received by critics and became another hit among moviegoers. Meyers also co-wrote and produced the sequel “Father of the Bride Part II,” which was released in 1995. A loose adaptation of the original's 1951 sequel “Father's Little Dividend,” it grossed over $76 million in the U.S. against its budget of $30 million. Steve Martin, who reprised his role of George Banks, was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical for his performance.
In between the “Father of the Bride” movies, Meyers, also with Shyer, contributed to the script of the comedy “Once Upon a Crime...” (1992), starring John Candy, James Belushi, Cybill Shepherd, Sean Young and Richard Lewis, among other actors. Directed by Eugene Levy, the film received negative reviews from critics. She also produced and co-wrote with Shyer the romantic comedy “I Love Trouble” (1994), starring Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte. Meyers, who previously declined an offer to direct the 1996 blockbuster comedy “The First Wives Club,” eventually made her directional debut with Disney's remake of the David Swift 1961 family film “The Parent Trap.” Released in 1998, her version, starring Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, Lindsay Lohan and Elaine Hendrix and co-written with Shyer, earned primarily favorable reviews from critics and was a box office success. It opened at No. 2 at the box office and brought in over $66 million domestically and over $92 million worldwide against its budget of $15.5 million.
In 2000, Meyers returned to the director's chair to helm Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Alan Alda, Ashley Johnson and Bette Midler in the comedy “What Women Want,” which she also produced. Although it received mixed reviews, the film was a huge success at the box office and at that time, emerged as the most successful film ever directed by a woman. Under her direction, Gibson was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical.
Three years later, Meyers directed, wrote and produced “Something's Gotta Give” (2003), a comedy starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. The film was generally well received by critics and emerged as a surprise box office hit after its North America release on December 12, 2003. Keaton was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and won a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for her portrayal of playwright Erica Barry, while Nicholson earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance.
Meyers resurfaced when she directed Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black in the romantic comedy “The Holiday” (2006), which she wrote and produced. The film garnered mixed reviews from critics but proved to be a favorite among audiences. After “The Holiday,” Meyers directed, produced and wrote “It's Complicated” (2009), a romantic comedy starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Lake Bell and John Krasinski. Despite mixed reviews, the film was nominated for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy (Streep) and Best Screenplay - Motion Picture for Meyers.
Women in Film Crystal: Dorothy Arzner Directors Award, 2007
Writers Guild of America (WGA): Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen, “Private Benjamin,”1981