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Jim Abrahams

Jim Abrahams has become one of Hollywood's most influential and important filmmakers in a career that has moved from performance into writing, directing, producing and creating new television productions and feature films.

Abrahams' filmmaking career began while attending the University of Wisconsin in his home state. Along with his classmates and friends David and Jerry Zucker, Abraham formed a successful storefront comedy troupe known as the Kentucky Fried Theater, which ultimately found even greater popularity when the trio moved the company west to Los Angeles. The Kentucky Fried Movie, written and featuring the three, was made in l977 and launched their careers in film.

The trio of Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker collectively known as ZAZ went on to create and direct the spoof Airplane! and a television parody of cop shows, Police Squad! starring Leslie Nielsen. The critically acclaimed television series went on to become the basis for their hit feature The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad and its sequels, The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, and for all of which Abrahams wrote and served as an executive producer.

Together, the ZAZ trio also wrote and directed the spoof Top Secret! and, working with non-parody material, they directed Bette Midler and Danny DeVito in the hugely successful comedy Ruthless People.

Abrahams' first film work as a solo director was on the project Big Business, which starred Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin as a pair of identical twins. His other credits as a solo director include the coming-of-age comedy Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael starring Winona Ryder, and the very successful parodies Hot Shots! and Hot Shots! Part Deux, both of which Abrahams also co-wrote. He has also served as executive producer for John Waters' Cry-Baby.

Recently, Abrahams produced and directed the telefilm ...first do no harm, which received Emmy and Humanitas Award nominations. Starring two-time Academy Award¨-winner Meryl Streep, the telefilm tells the true story of a mother who struggles to save her son from his torturous treatment of epilepsy when she finds the little known Ketogenic Diet.

In addition to these pictures, Abrahams has also attended screenings of Gandhi (1984), Wall Street (1988), Dances With Wolves (1991) and Silence of the Lambs (1992).

Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Jim Abrahams Facts

OccupationDirector, Screenwriter
BirthdayMay 10, 1944 (79)
BirthplaceShorewood, Wisconsin, USA

Selected Filmography

Hot Shots, Part Deux!
Big Business
Hot Shots!
Ruthless People
Top Secret!
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