Biography of John Landis
John David Landis (born August 3, 1950) is an American film director, screenwriter, actor, and producer. He is known for his comedy films, his horror films, and his music videos with singer Michael Jackson.
Landis was born to a Jewish family in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Shirley Levine (née Magaziner) and Marshall Landis, an interior designer and decorator. His family relocated to Los Angeles when he was four months old.
He began working as a mailboy at 20th Century Fox. His first noteworthy job in Hollywood was working as a "go-fer" and then as an assistant director during filming MGM's Kelly's Heroes in Yugoslavia in 1969; he replaced the film's original assistant director, who suffered from a nervous breakdown and was sent home by the producers. While filming, he met actors Don Rickles and Donald Sutherland, both of whom he would later cast in his own films. Following this, Landis worked on many films made in Europe (especially in Italy and England), most notably, Once Upon a Time in the West, El Condor and A Town Called Bastard (a.k.a. A Town Called Hell). Landis also worked as a stunt double.
“I worked on some pirates movies, all kind of movies. French foreign movies. I worked on a movie called Red Sun where Toshirō Mifune kills me, puts a sword through me. (...) I worked as a stunt guy. I worked as a dialogue coach. I worked as an actor. I worked as a production assistant.”
After his experience working as a stunt double, he moved to London and worked as an uncredited co-writer for the film The Spy Who Loved Me.