Lawrence Bender

Last updated
Lawrence Bender
Bender at a premiere for
Inglourious Basterds in August 2009
Born (1957-10-17) October 17, 1957 (age 61)
Education University of Maine
OccupationFilm producer
Years active1987–present

Lawrence Bender (born October 17, 1957) is an American film producer. Throughout his career, Bender-produced films have received 36 Academy Award nominations, resulting in eight wins. [1] [2]

A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Either employed by a production company or working independently, producers plan and coordinate various aspects of film production, such as selecting the script; coordinating writing, directing, and editing; and arranging financing.

Academy Awards American awards given annually for excellence in cinematic achievements

The Academy Awards, also officially and popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry. Given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname "Oscar".


Bender rose to fame by producing Reservoir Dogs in 1992 and has since produced all of Quentin Tarantino's films with the exception of Death Proof , Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight . Bender has also produced three documentary films, most notably An Inconvenient Truth (2006) which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. [3] He has received three Best Picture nominations for producing Pulp Fiction , Good Will Hunting and Inglourious Basterds . [4]

<i>Reservoir Dogs</i> 1992 film by Quentin Tarantino

Reservoir Dogs is a 1992 American heist film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino in his feature-length debut. It stars Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Michael Madsen, Tarantino, and Edward Bunker, as diamond thieves whose planned heist of a jewelry store goes terribly wrong. The film depicts the events before and after the heist. Kirk Baltz, Randy Brooks and Steven Wright also play supporting roles. It incorporates many motifs that have become Tarantino's hallmarks: violent crime, pop culture references, profanity, and nonlinear storytelling.

Quentin Tarantino American film director, screenwriter, producer, and actor

Quentin Jerome Tarantino is an American filmmaker and actor. His films are characterized by nonlinear storylines, satirical subject matter, an aestheticization of violence, extended scenes of dialogue, ensemble casts consisting of established and lesser-known performers, references to popular culture and a wide variety of other films, soundtracks primarily containing songs and score pieces from the 1960s to the 1980s, and features of neo-noir film.

<i>Death Proof</i> 2007 American action thriller slasher film directed by Quentin Tarantino

Death Proof is a 2007 American exploitation horror film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It stars Kurt Russell as a stuntman who murders young women in staged car accidents using his "death-proof" stunt car. It co-stars Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Tracie Thoms and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, with stuntwoman Zoë Bell as herself. The film pays homage to the slasher, exploitation and muscle car films of the 1970s.

Early life

Bender was born to a Jewish family in The Bronx, New York, and grew up in New Jersey, where his father was a college history professor and his mother was a kindergarten teacher. [5] In high school, he decided to pursue a career as a civil engineer. His grandfather had been a civil engineer and he heard there were good jobs available in the field. [6] He is a graduate of The University of Maine, Class of 1979, majoring in Civil Engineering. [6] [7] [4]

American Jews Ethnic group

American Jews, or Jewish Americans, are Americans who are Jews, whether by religion, ethnicity, or nationality. Today the Jewish community in the United States consists primarily of Ashkenazi Jews, who descend from diaspora Jewish populations of Central and Eastern Europe and comprise about 90-95% of the American Jewish population. Most American Ashkenazim are US-born, with a dwindling number of now-elderly earlier immigrants, as well as some more recent foreign-born immigrants.

While attending U-Maine, Bender acquired a passion for dance. After graduating, Bender pursued dancing and was awarded a scholarship to the Louis Falco dance troupe. [8] He worked as a dancer for some time before a series of injuries ended his dance career. [4]

Louis Falco American dancer and choreographer

Louis Falco was an American dancer and choreographer.



In the 1980s, he worked as a grip on the syndicated anthology series Tales from the Darkside . In 1989 he produced, along with Sam Raimi, the film Intruder , which he also co-wrote the story for. After meeting Tarantino in 1990 and being given the script for Reservoir Dogs , he agreed to produce the film, which went on to achieve commercial success. [9] Throughout the 1990s, Bender also produced Pulp Fiction (1994), Killing Zoe (1994), Fresh , White Man's Burden (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Jackie Brown (1997), Good Will Hunting (1997), A Price Above Rubies (1998), and Anna and the King (1999).

Grip (job) occupation in film and TV production

In the U.S. and Canada, grips are technicians in the filmmaking and video production industries. They constitute their own department on a film set and are directed by a key grip. Grips have two main functions. The first is to work closely with the camera department to provide camera support, especially if the camera is mounted to a dolly, crane, or in an unusual position, such as the top of a ladder. Some grips may specialize in operating camera dollies or camera cranes. The second main function of grips is to work closely with the electrical department to create lighting set-ups necessary for a shot under the direction of the director of photography.

Grips' responsibility is to build and maintain all the equipment that supports cameras. This equipment, which includes tripods, dollies, tracks, jibs, cranes, and static rigs, is constructed of delicate yet heavy duty parts requiring a high level of experience to operate and move. Every scene in a feature film is shot using one or more cameras, each mounted on highly complex, extremely expensive, heavy duty equipment. Grips assemble this equipment according to meticulous specifications and push, pull, mount or hang it from a variety of settings. The equipment can be as basic as a tripod standing on a studio floor, to hazardous operations such as mounting a camera on a 100 ft crane, or hanging it from a helicopter swooping above a mountain range.

Good Grips perform a crucial role in ensuring that the artifice of film is maintained, and that camera moves are as seamless as possible. Grips are usually requested by the DoP or the camera operator. Although the work is physically demanding and the hours are long, the work can be very rewarding. Many Grips work on both commercials and features.

<i>Tales from the Darkside</i> television series

Tales from the Darkside is a 1980s American anthology horror TV series created by George A. Romero. Debuting in October 1983 with a pilot episode and then being picked up for syndication in September 1984, the show ran for 4 seasons through July 1988. Each episode, aired originally by Tribune Broadcasting late at night, was an individual short story that often ended with a plot twist. The series' episodes spanned the genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy, and some episodes featured elements of black comedy or more lighthearted themes.

Sam Raimi American film director, producer, writer and actor

Samuel M. Raimi is an American filmmaker, actor, and producer, primarily known for creating cult horror Evil Dead series, and directing the Spider-Man trilogy (2002–07). He also directed the 1990 superhero film Darkman, the 1998 neo-noir crime-thriller A Simple Plan, the 2000 supernatural thriller film The Gift , the 2009 supernatural horror film Drag Me to Hell, and the 2013 Disney fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful.

In the early 2000s, Bender produced the films, The Mexican (2001), Knockaround Guys (2001), Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003), Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), Innocent Voices (2004), and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights . Since May 2005, Bender has been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post .

<i>The Mexican</i> 2001 film by Gore Verbinski

The Mexican is a 2001 American comedy film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. Its plot is a mixture of different genres.

<i>Knockaround Guys</i> 2001 film by David Levien, Brian Koppelman

Knockaround Guys is a 2001 crime drama film starring Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Seth Green, John Malkovich and Dennis Hopper. It was filmed in locations in the U.S. and Canada including the small town of Delia, Alberta.

<i>Kill Bill: Volume 1</i> 2003 film by Quentin Tarantino

Kill Bill: Volume 1 is a 2003 American martial arts film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It stars Uma Thurman as The Bride, who swears revenge on a team of assassins and their leader, the titular Bill, after they try to kill her and her unborn child. Her journey takes her to Japan, where she battles the Tokyo yakuza.

In 2009, Lawrence produced the Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. [10] He also produced the 2012 film Safe , which starred Jason Statham. [11] In 2016, he was executive producer for The Forest , Martin Scorsese's Silence and Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge . [12] In 2017, it was announced that Bender would serve as a producer for the film The Widow. [13]

In February 2018, it was announced that Bender would serve as a producer on for the Al Capone biopic Fonzo . [14]

Bender makes cameo appearance in many of the films he produces: he was a police officer chasing Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs , a restaurant patron billed as a "Long Hair Yuppie-Scum" in Fresh , Pulp Fiction and Four Rooms , a hotel clerk in Kill Bill: Volume 2, and as a bartender in Safe. [11]


He produced the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth , which raised unprecedented awareness about climate change, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. [15]

In 2008, Bender was a founding member of the World Security Institute campaign, Global Zero. [16] His 2010 documentary, Countdown to Zero , features Tony Blair, Presidents, Musharef, Gorbachev, De Klerk and Carter among others, details the urgent risk posed by proliferation, terrorism, and accidental use of nuclear weapons. [17] Bender was an executive producer for the 2017 sequel to An Inconvenient Truth, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power . [18]


In the early 2000s, Bender formed a partnership with Kevin Kelly Brown and created the production company Bender Brown Productions. The company produced the CBS Drama Dr. Vegas and the Syfy channel mini-series Earthsea. [19]

In 2008, it was reported that Bender was working with Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor to create a television series based on the 2007 album Year Zero . [20]

Bender produced the 2015 Starz miniseries Flesh and Bone . [21] In 2017, it was announced that Bender and Brown would executive produce a reboot pilot of the television series Roswell for The CW. [22] The CW ordered Roswell, New Mexico to series in May 2018. [23] Bender also executive produced the 2018 Netflix series Seven Seconds . [24]

Personal life

Bender is also a passionate social and political activist and supports many causes. [25] Bender serves on the board of The Creative Coalition. He is a member of Council on Foreign Relations the Pacific Council. Bender is also on the Advisory Board for the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and a member of the Global Zero campaign. [26] [27]

In 2004, Bender was a top fundraiser for John Kerry's presidential campaign. [28] He was also an early supporter of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. [29] Being of Jewish descent, in August 2015 he signed – as one of 98 members of the Los Angeles' Jewish community – an open letter supporting the proposed nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers led by the United States "as being in the best interest of the United States and Israel." [30]

On May 11, 2013, he returned to The University of Maine to receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree and share remarks during the 2013 Commencement ceremonies. [4]

Awards and recognition

In 1994, Pulp Fiction won the Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival. [31] Bender received a producer of the year award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001, becoming the third person ever to win the award and the first American to do so. [32] In 2005, Bender was presented with the Torch of Liberty award from the ACLU. [33] He was named a Wildlife Hero by the National Wildlife Federation in 2011. [34] Throughout his career, films Bender has produced or executive produced have won a total of eight Academy Awards. [2]



1989 Intruder producer, co-writer
Tale of Two Sisters producer
1992 Reservoir Dogs producer
1994 Fresh producer
Pulp Fiction producer
Killing Zoe producer
1995 Four Rooms producer
White Man's Burden producer
1996Snakelandexecutive producer
From Dusk till Dawn executive producer
1997 Good Will Hunting producer
Jackie Brown producer
1998 A Price Above Rubies producer
1999 From Dusk till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money executive producer
Anna and the King producer
From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter executive producer
2001 The Mexican producer
Knockaround Guys producer
2002 Stark Raving Mad executive producer
2003 Kill Bill: Volume 1 producer
2004 Kill Bill: Volume 2 producer
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights producer
Voces inocentes producer
2005 The Chumscrubber producer
The Great Raid producer
Goal! executive producer
2006 An Inconvenient Truth producer
2007 88 Minutes executive producer
2008The Youngest Candidateproducer
Killshot producer
2009 Inglourious Basterds producer
2010 Countdown to Zero producer
2012 Safe producer
2016 The Forest executive producer
Silence executive producer
Hacksaw Ridge executive producer
2017 An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power executive producer
2018 Greta producer
2019 Fonzo producer


2001Anatomy of a Hate Crimeexecutive producer
2002 Lost in Oz executive producer
Nancy Drew executive producer
2004The Survivors Clubexecutive producer
Dr. Vegas executive producer: "Pilot" & "Limits"
Earthsea executive producer
2005Build or Bustexecutive producer
2006Flirtexecutive producer
2007The Line-Upexecutive producer
2008Long Island Confidentialexecutive producer
2015 Flesh and Bone producer
2018 Seven Seconds executive producer
2019 Roswell, New Mexico executive producer

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  3. "Steve Golin and Lawrence Bender Talk About How Film Can Drive Cultural Change".
  4. 1 2 3 4 "UMaine alum, Hollywood producer Bender to give commencement address".
  5. L.A. Confidential: "Lawrence Bender Loves Israel" By Lawrence Bender retrieved May 25, 2015
  6. 1 2 "Hollywood film producer credits UMaine". 5 May 2013.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2013-05-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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  11. 1 2 Taylor, Drew (April 26, 2012). "'Safe' Producer Lawrence Bender Talks Jason Stathan's Appeal & Why He Didn't Produce 'Django Unchained'". IndieWire. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  12. "Lawrence Bender".
  13. Ford, Rebecca (May 5, 2017). "Cannes: Isabell Huppert, Chloe Grace Moretz to Star in Thriller 'The Widow'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  14. Scott, Mike (February 22, 2018). "Tom Hardy's Al Capone Movie 'Fonzo' Prepping to Film in New Orleans". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  15. Skoll, Jeff (April 27, 2016). "Participant's Jeff Skoll: How the Power of Film Spread 'An Inconvenient Truth'". Variety. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  16. "It's Time to Start Worrying Again".
  17. Schroeder Mullins, Anne (April 6, 2010). "Thumbs Up For Bender Nuclear Doc". Politico. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  18. Pedersen, Erik (June 1, 2017). "'An Inconvenient Sequel' Getting Limited Summer Release From Paramount - Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  19. Andreeva, Nellie (August 1, 2012). "Lawrence Bender & Kevin Brown's Company Sings Pod Deal With Universal Cable Prods". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  20. Pareles, Jon (June 8, 2008). "Frustration and Fury: Take It. It's Free". The New York Times . Archived from the original on June 11, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2008.
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  22. Andreeva, Nellie (October 12, 2017). "'Roswell' Reboot With Immigration Twist In Works At the CW From Amblin TV". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved July 30, 2018.
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  24. Ryan, Maureen (February 22, 2018). "TV Review: 'Seven Seconds' On Netflix". Variety . Retrieved May 24, 2018.
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  26. UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
  27. Lawrence Bender on His Involvement with the UCLA IoES on YouTube
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  29. "Barack Obama to Hollywood: Without You, No Obama White House".
  30. Abramovitch, Seth (August 12, 2015). "98 Prominent Hollywood Jews Back Iran Nuclear Deal in Open Letter (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter.
  31. "Pulp Fiction Brought Guns, Gimps and Glory to the Cannes Film Festival".
  32. "Bender Feted as Producer of the Year".
  33. "2013 Commencement Honorary Degree Recipient and Speaker Lawrence Bender".
  34. "Jack Hannah Honored By the National Wildlife Federation".