KATHLEEN KENNEDY’s record of achievement has made her one of the most successful executives in the film industry today.
Among her credits are three of the highest-grossing films in motion picture history: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park and The Sixth Sense.
Kennedy currently heads The Kennedy/Marshall Company, which she founded in 1992 alongside director/producer Frank Marshall. Under their banner, they have produced such films as The Sixth Sense, which earned six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Seabiscuit, which garnered seven Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, which collectively reinvented the spy thriller and has become the only motion picture trilogy of 2007 to demonstrate a consistent and impressive upward trend in both box office and DVD sales, and the indie hits, Persepolis and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, an adaptation of Jean-Dominique Bauby’s moving memoir directed by critically-hailed artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel and written by Oscar®-winner Ronald Harwood, and the French animated film Persepolis, which is based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel about a young girl growing up during the Iranian Revolution. Both films became critical and audience favorites garnered a host of awards.
Schnabel won the prize for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Globe for Best Director and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and the National Board of Review named it one of its Ten Best Films of 2007, among many other accolades. Persepolis tied for the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, tied for the National Board of Review’s Freedom of Expression Award, won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Animated Film and tied for the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Animation. Persepolis was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and both Persepolis and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly have received Independent Spirit Award nominations, among many others.
Kennedy recently executive produced, along with George Lucas, the fourth installment in the Indiana Jones series, directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Frank Marshall. A Lucasfilm Ltd. Production, the much-anticipated film opened worldwide May 22, 2008 and has grossed over $737,000,000. Additionally, The Kennedy/Marshall Company produced The Spiderwick Chronicles, based on the popular series of children’s books about the unseen world of fairies that exist all around us. Upcoming, Kennedy serves as producer on the feature The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, an epic tale of love, the joys of life and the sadness of death and the things that last beyond time, directed by David Fincher, written by Oscar®-winner Eric Roth and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. She is currently in producing Tintin, a series of motion pictures directed by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. The two acclaimed filmmakers will use state of the art performance capture technology to bring Tintin, the iconic character created by Georges Remi, better known to the world by his pen name “Herge,” to the screen.
Kennedy began a successful association with Steven Spielberg when she served as his production assistant on 1941. She went on to become his associate on Raiders of the Lost Ark, associate producer of Poltergeist and producer of E.T. While E.T. was becoming an international phenomenon, Spielberg, Kennedy and Marshall were already in production on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which she and Marshall produced with George Lucas.
In 1982, Kennedy co-founded Amblin Entertainment with Spielberg and Marshall, for which she produced or executive-produced such films as Hook, Always, Gremlins, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, Young Sherlock Holmes, The Goonies, Innerspace, The Money Pit, *batteries not included, Dad, The Flintstones, Joe Versus the Volcano, Noises Off, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Cape Fear, We're Back, and Arachnophobia, Frank Marshall’s directorial debut in 1990.
Kennedy also teamed with Spielberg, Marshall and Quincy Jones to produce The Color Purple, which earned eleven Academy Award® nominations in 1985, including Best Picture. Later that same year, Kennedy, Spielberg and Marshall produced 1985’s highest-grossing film, Back to the Future, and later produced its two highly successful sequels - Back to the Future, Part II and Back to the Future, Part III.
In 1988, Kennedy again earned the distinction of top-grossing film of the year for Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which she produced with Marshall and Robert Watts. She then went on to produce Empire of the Sun with Spielberg and Marshall, which the National Board of Review named Best Picture of the Year.
Kennedy served as executive producer on the critically acclaimed Spielberg-directed Holocaust drama Schindler’s List, which garnered seven Academy Awards® in 1993, including Best Director and Best Picture. That same year she also re-teamed with Robert Watts to produce Marshall’s second film, Alive.
In 1995, Kennedy produced the Amblin Entertainment/Malpaso Production The Bridges of Madison County, directed by Clint Eastwood. It was followed by Amblin Entertainment’s Jan DeBont-directed action thriller Twister, which Kennedy produced with Ian Bryce in 1996. Kennedy also served as executive producer on the Spielberg-directed Jurassic Park sequel, The Lost World.
In 1999 and 2000, three films produced by The Kennedy/Marshall Company were released. The first, Universal’s Snow Falling on Cedars, was directed by Scott Hicks, award-winning director of Shine. It was followed by The Sixth Sense, which starred Bruce Willis and received six Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture. The next release was A Map of the World, starring Sigourney Weaver and Julianne Moore. The Kennedy/Marshall Company also produced the IMAX film Olympic Glory, which was released in May, 2000.
In 2001, Kennedy produced the Spielberg-directed A.I. Artificial Intelligence with Bonnie Curtis. That same year, she produced Jurassic Park III with Spielberg and Gerald Molen. At the end of 2001, she served as executive producer on M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, staring Mel Gibson, released August, 2002. In 2003, Kennedy produced (along with Marshall, Gary Ross and Jane Sindell) the critical and popular hit Seabiscuit, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards® and proved to be the biggest-selling drama on DVD for the year.
In 2005, Kennedy and Colin Wilson produced War of the Worlds, which was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Tom Cruise. Later that year, Kennedy re-teamed with Wilson, Barry Mendel, and Spielberg to produce the Spielberg-helmed Munich, which received five Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture.
Kennedy is on the chair of the Academy of Motion Pictures’ Producers Branch Executive Committee and is a member of the Academy’s Board of Governors. She recently completed her tenure as President of the Producers Guild of America, which bestowed upon her its highest honor, the Charles Fitzsimons Service Award, in 2006. In 2008, she and Marshall received the Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Award for Career Achievement.
Raised in the small Northern California towns of Weaverville and Redding, Kennedy graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in telecommunications and film. While still a student, she began working at a local San Diego television station. Following jobs as a camera operator, video editor, floor director and news production coordinator, Kennedy produced the station’s talk show, You're On. She then relocated to Los Angeles and worked with director John Milius prior to beginning her association with Spielberg.