Dan O'Bannon

Biography of Dan O'Bannon

Daniel Thomas "Dan" O'Bannon (September 30, 1946 – December 17, 2009) was an American motion-picture screenwriter, director and occasional actor, usually in the science fiction and horror genres.

O'Bannon was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Bertha (née Lowenthal) and Thomas Sidney O'Bannon, a carpenter. He attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he met John Carpenter and collaborated with him on the 45-minute USC School of Cinema-Television short Dark Star (1970). Carpenter expanded the short into a feature which was released in 1974 with a final budget of only US$60,000. O'Bannon served in a number of capacities, including scripting, editing and acting in one of the leading roles ("Pinback"). In 1975, Dark Star won the Golden Scroll award (the Saturn Awards' original name) for Best Special Effects.

O'Bannon, growing up a science-fiction and horror enthusiast, abandoned technical work (including a stint as a computer animator on George Lucas' classic Star Wars) for screenwriting. Following Star Wars, he was attached to supervise special effects for an Alejandro Jodorowsky production of Frank Herbert's Dune, but this fell apart in 1975 leaving O'Bannon homeless and with no money. With his friend Ronald Shusett, whose couch he was sleeping on at the time, he then wrote the screenplay for Alien (1979).

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