Date of Birth: November 6, 1953
A director who has become known for his light-hearted films, Ron Underwood seemed fully aware of his future profession as early as Grade 5 when he began making short films in his native Glendale, California. While attending high school, he became an exchange student in Sri Lanka where he discovered the positive effects of American films. During his stay he made a short film with his Super 8 camera using the locals as the focal point. Entitled The Dawn of Peace, the film won a number of awards while changing the perception of the Sri Lankan people.
Though the world of film had already effected him deeply, Underwood did not go to university for film studies, but instead took up medicine. Unhappy with his choice, he switched his major to film at the University of California. There he met and befriended future long-time collaborators S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock, who wrote the scripts for Short Circuit (1986) and Tremors (1990).
After graduating, he and his wife moved to Milwaukee where he worked as a cameraman and editor to a TV commercial production company. A year later, Underwood was back at school attending The American Film Institute. Hired by Barr Films, he began directing informational shorts to adaptations of children's literature. He then began working on telefilms like The Mouse and the Motorcycle.
Still searching for a way to hit the feature film industry, Underwood teamed up with old pals Wilson and Maddock to create the comedy/horror Tremors. The film was green lighted and by 1990, they released the critically acclaimed sleeper hit.
A year later, Underwood released one of the year's top grossing films, the blockbuster comedy City Slickers, starring comedian Billy Crystal. That same year, Underwood formed Stampede Entertainment with Maddock, Wilson and producer Nancy Roberts. Though he continued working on "relationship comedy" through the waning years of the 1990s, he couldn't hit the same success that City Slickers had produced.
At the start of the new millenium, he tried a new genre, sci-fi/comedy with The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) starring Eddie Murphy. His next film, Stealing Sinatra (2003), was shown only at film festivals before airing on TV. He directed an episode of Boston Legal and the TV movie Back When We Were Grownups (2004) before returning to the big screen with In the Mix (2005).
In the Mix (2005)
Stealing Sinatra (2002)
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)
Mighty Joe Young (1998)
Heart and Souls (1993)
City Slickers (1991)