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Joe Dante Biography

  • Profession: Director, Actor, Editor
  • Born: Nov 28, 1946
  • Died: Jan 1, 0001

Born and raised in New Jersey, Joe Dante was a garrulous, semi-obsessed "movie nut." As a teenager, Dante wrote articles and criticism for "#Castle of Frankenstein," a popular "fanzine" for horror-film aficionados. While attending the Philadelphia College of Art, Dante and his friend [[Performer~P17212~Jon Davidson~joeydavidson]] put together [[Feature~V283914~The Movie Orgy~themovieorgy]] (1968), a 7-hour compilation of kitschy film clips that was screened on the college-campus circuit under the sponsorship of Schlitz beer. Dante went on to write for [[Feature~V165221~The Film Bulletin~lefilm]], then joined Roger Corman's New World Pictures, starting out editing trailers. When Dante made noises about becoming a director, [[Performer~P85920~Corman~rogercorman]] challenged him to whip up a picture for $50,000; the result was [[Feature~V22743~Hollywood Boulevard~hollywoodboulevard]], an elongated (and frequently sidesplitting) inside joke about low-budget moviemaking. With [[Feature~V38218~Piranha~piranha]] (1978) and [[Feature~V23755~The Howling~thehowling]] (1980), Dante began attracting critical attention as a director to keep an eye on. For producer [[Performer~P112325~Steven Spielberg,~stevenspielberg]] Dante directed his most profitable film, [[Feature~V20918~Gremlins~gremlins]] (1984), a funny and frightening compendium of filmic "quotes" from past movie classics, full of cameo appearances by such pop-culture icons as [[Performer~P96300~Chuck Jones~chuckjones]], [[Performer~P49213~Dick Miller~dickmiller]], and Robby the Robot. For television, Dante has directed episodes of [[Feature~V175267~Police Squad~policesquad[tvseries]]], Amazing Stories, Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt. While Dante is best known for his stylish "scare" pictures, one of the director's finest and most personal projects was [[Feature~V31810~Matinee~matinee]] (1993), a nostalgic (and very movie-savvy) glance back at what it was like to grow up as a film buff in the early 1960s. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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