Des McAnuff

Director, Playwright, Composer
Two-time Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff grew up in Canada and moved to NYC in the mid-1970s, co-founding the Dodger Theatre Company and directing their first production "Gimme Shelter" in 1978. His production ... Read more »
Born: 06/18/1952 in Princeton, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Director (6)

700 Sundays 2014 - 2015 (TV Show)

Director

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

Cousin Bette 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

Renaissance Man 1994 (Movie)

(Henry V Theatrical unit) (Director)

The Who's Tommy: The Amazing Journey 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Director

A Walk in the Woods 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Director
Writer (2)

Jersey Boys 2014 (Movie)

(directed stage play: "Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons") (Source Material)

The Who's Tommy: The Amazing Journey 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Book as Source Material
Producer (2)

Quills 2000 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Iron Giant 1999 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (1)

The Who's Tommy: The Amazing Journey 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Two-time Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff grew up in Canada and moved to NYC in the mid-1970s, co-founding the Dodger Theatre Company and directing their first production "Gimme Shelter" in 1978. His production of "The Death of Von Richthofen as Witnessed From Earth" (1982), complete with special effects like a flying piano, got him tagged a "wunderkind" in Newsweek and convinced La Jolla Playhouse board members to hire him as artistic director. During his tenure at La Jolla, he directed four shows that he eventually brought to Broadway, beginning with "Big River" (1985), Roger Miller's musical version of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", and followed by Lee Blessing's "A Walk in the Woods" (1988), "The Who's 'Tommy'" (1993) and the revisal of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (1995). He received his first film credit as director of the "Henry V" theatrical unit for Penny Marshall's "Renaissance Man" (1994) and finally made his feature directorial debut with the 19th Century period piece "Cousin Bette" (1998), adapted from Honore Balzac's novel "La Cousin Bette". McAnuff produced the animated "Iron Giant" (1999) based on the Ted Hughes novel "Iron Giant: A Story in Five Nights" before working on his own live-action/animated feature, "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" (2000).

Relationships

Susan Berman

Wife
born c. 1956 together since 1978 married on La Jolla Playhouse stage on January 1, 1984

Ellen Boyd

Mother
Canadian was pregnant with McAnuff at the time of his father's death remarried and moved back to Canada

John Boyd

Step-Father
Scottish served in the Royal Air Force as a pilot during WWII

William McAnuff

Father
Canadian of Irish descent served in WWII as a fighter pilot died on December 15, 1951 from injuries sustained in a car accident at age 26

Julia McAnuff

Daughter
born on July 13, 1990

Trevor McAnuff

Brother
older born c. 1948

EDUCATION

Ryerson Polytechnical University

Toronto , Ontario
dropped out after one year to pursue career

Milestones

2000

Helmed second feature, a combined live-action animated version of "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle"

1998

Feature film directorial debut, "Cousin Bette"

1998

Reportedly did uncredited doctoring on the Broadway musical "High Society"

1995

Directed Broadway revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (debuted in La Jolla)

1994

Abandoned plans to make feature directing debut with a biopic of James Dean to star Leonardo DiCaprio; cited conflict with theater commitments

1994

Stepped down as artistic director at La Jolla, becoming its director-in-residence instead

1994

Made short film "Bad Dates"

1994

First feature film credit as director of "Henry V" theatrical unit for Penny Marshall's "Renaissance Man"

1993

Brought The Who's "Tommy" from La Jolla Playhouse to Broadway, winning his second Tony as Best Director (Musical)

1986

Staged world premiere of Lee Blessing's "A Walk in the Woods" at La Jolla Playhouse (restaged it at Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987 and on Broadway in 1988)

1985

Broadway directorial debut, "Big River", a musical version of "Huckleberry Finn"; show received seven Tony Awards, including one for Best Director (Musical)

1983

Became artistic director of La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, California

1982

Wrote, directed and composed music for "The Death of Von Richthofen as Witnessed from Earth" at Public Theater

1979

Wrote, directed and composed music for "Leave It To Beaver Is Dead" at NYC's Public Theater

1978

Co-founded Dodger Theatre Company, NYC; directed company's first production "Gimme Shelter"

1977

Directed "The Crazy Locomotive" at two NYC venues

1975

Moved to NYC at age 23 (date approximate)

1968

While still in high school, wrote and directed "Urbania", a 26-song musical

1964

Began composing music (date approximate)

Finished first movie, the short "Bad Dates", starring Nancy Travis as a kindergarten teacher who is unlucky in dating

Family was living in Buda, Illinois when McAnuff's father was killed in a car accident

Dropped out of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute; worked in local theater; served as assistant artistic director at the Toronto Free Theater

Began career as a playwright and TV writer in Canada

Raised and educated in Toronto, Canada

Bonus Trivia

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McAnuff won Soho Arts Awards for "Gimme Shelter" (Best Director) and "Leave It To Beaver Is Dead" (Best Off-Broadway Play). He received a Villager Award for Best Direction and a Rockefeller grant for "The Death of Von Richthofen as Witnessed From Earth".

.

About stepping down as artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse: "It isn't so much that I didn't enjoy the job, but if you're going to do it well, you have to be around. We have always been hands-on producers, and when you're standing behind not only your own work but maybe the work of four or five other directors in the course of a season, it requires a lot of time and energy . . .""I actually had this job for considerably longer than I intended. I'm really proud of this theater and its accomplishments, but I'm glad to have my freedom. It's really great to have my wings back." --Des McAnuff to Los Angeles Times, October 30, 1994.

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