Kathleen Kennedy

Kathleen Kennedy Headshot

Producer • Executive

Birth Date: June 5, 1953

Age: 70 years old

Birth Place: Berkeley, California

Spouses: Frank Marshall

Certainly one of the most powerful women in contemporary Hollywood, producer and former Amblin Entertainment president Kathleen Kennedy was associated with a startling percentage of the top 20 highest-grossing American films, some of which were Oscar-nominated Best Picture nominees. After impressing director Steven Spielberg as a production assistant on "1941" (1979) and meeting future husband and producing partner Frank Marshall on "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), Kennedy co-founded Amblin Entertainment with Marshall and Spielberg, one of the most successful production companies in the history of the industry. As president, producer and occasionally executive producer, Kennedy oversaw an impressive array of motion pictures, from "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), "Back to the Future" (1985) and "The Color Purple" (1985) to "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" (1988), "Jurassic Park" (1993) and "Schindler's List" (1993). In 1992, Kennedy and Marshall branched off on their own to form The Kennedy/Marshall Company, where they continued their success with "The Sixth Sense" (1999), "Signs" (2003), "Seabiscuit" (2003) and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008). Of course, Kennedy maintained her working partnership with Spielberg on such critical and commercial hits as "Munich" (2005), "War of the Worlds" (2005), and "War Horse" (2011). When George Lucas picked her as his successor in 2012 to run Lucasfilm, it only added to Kennedy's legend as one of Hollywood's most powerful and successful producers.

Born circa 1954 in Berkeley, CA, Kennedy was raised in Weaverville and Redding, CA by her father, Donald, an attorney and later a judge, and her mother, Dione, a former theater actress. Kennedy first became interested in filmmaking while attending Shasta High School in Redding, where she took a class in 8mm film and videotape production. She went on to study communications at San Diego State University, and while still a student, worked at local television station, KCST-TV, where she was a camera operator, video editor, floor director and news production coordinator. After graduation in 1975, Kennedy went on to produce a local talk show for the station entitled "You're On" for four years before moving to Los Angeles. Kennedy got her first film job working with John Milius, whose A-Team Productions was making Spielberg's misbegotten comedy "1941" (1979). Though her credit on the film was production assistant, Kennedy managed to impress the director enough that he made her an associate producer on "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), a fateful production that marked her first meeting with future husband and business partner Frank Marshall.

In 1981, Kennedy co-founded the successful production company, Amblin Entertainment, with Spielberg and Marshall. With only its second film, "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), Amblin scored massive box-office success that paved the way it to become one of the most successful production companies of all time. Meanwhile, Kennedy went on to co-produce Spielberg's lavish production of Tobe Hooper's horror outing "Poltergeist" (1982) and was a full producer on "Twilight Zone: The Movie" (1983) and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984). With Amblin, Kennedy had her hand in most of the company's films and served as its president until 1992. During her reign, she collaborated with an impressive and diverse group of filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Robert Zemeckis, Barry Levinson and Clint Eastwood, and served as a producer on some of the decade's biggest box office hits and even a few Academy Award nominees. She earned her first executive producer credit on the popular Joe Dante-directed black comedy "Gremlins" (1984) and followed that with another giant hit, "Back to the Future" (1985), which sparked one of the more successful franchises for Amblin.

Having already earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination for "E.T.," Kennedy repeated the feat with Spielberg's first serious drama, "The Color Purple" (1985), which depicted the struggles of three African-American women battling racism, poverty and abuse in the South during the early 1900s. After producing Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun" (1987), she and Amblin had another monster success with the partially animated "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" (1988), only to falter with the romance "Always" (1989), a financial and critical flop directed by Spielberg that was a remake of his favorite film, "A Guy Named Joe" (1943). But all was well with the releases of "Back to the Future Part II" (1989) and "Back to the Future Part III" (1990), though the failures of "Joe vs. the Volcano" (1990) and "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" (1990) were minor speed bumps in the road. Though critics despised Spielberg's "Hook" (1991), audiences flocked to the theaters in droves and turned what could have been a big-budget misfire into a hit. That same year, Kennedy oversaw Martin Scorsese's remake of "Cape Fear" (1991), which starred Nick Nolte as a lawyer whose family is terrorized by a deceptive ex-con (Robert De Niro).

Of course, Amblin was not limited to feature films, as Kennedy steered the company toward producing shows like "Amazing Stories" (NBC, 1985-87), "Harry and the Hendersons" (syndicated, 1991-93), "Back to the Future: The Animated Series" (CBS, 1991-92) and "Fievel's American Tails" (CBS, 1992). But movies were always Amblin's bread and butter, and Kennedy moved massive hits like "Jurassic Park" (1993) and critically acclaimed dramas like "Schindler's List" (1993) into production. Though the latter did win the Best Picture Oscar, Kennedy's status as executive producer left her off the list of producers who could claim the award. Meanwhile, Kennedy and Marshall decided to strike off on their own in 1992 and formed The Kennedy/Marshall Company, striking a three-year deal with Paramount Pictures. The first film produced under the new banner was the inspirational survival saga "Alive" (1993), directed by Marshall, which was followed by the underperforming romantic comedy "Milk Money" (1994) and the rather disappointing adventure drama, "Congo" (1995), which elicited hoots and hollers from critics despite becoming a mild box-office success.

For the remainder of the decade, Kennedy enjoyed success as producer or executive producer on several commercial hits, including "Twister" (1996) and the Spielberg-directed sequel "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (1997). While their two literary adaptations, "A Map of the World" (1999) and "Snow Falling on Cedars" (1999), were ignored by Academy voters, Kennedy and Marshall had their first giant success away from Spielberg with "The Sixth Sense" (1999), a twisting, psychological thriller from new director M. Night Shyamalan that earned almost $700 million worldwide and gave Kennedy her first Best Picture nod since "The Color Purple." By this point, the couple oscillated their efforts between Spielberg's projects and their own, producing "Jurassic Park III" (2001), "Artificial Intelligence: A.I." (2001) and "Munich" (2005), as well as "Signs" (2002), "The Young Black Stallion" (2003) and the Oscar-nominated "Seabiscuit" (2003). After serving as the producer on Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" (2005), Kennedy took time to find more intimate projects like the animated French-American film "Persepolis" (2007), which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. She continued to mix prestige with commercial success with "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008), "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (2008) and the Clint Eastwood-directed "Hereafter" (2010). Teaming with Spielberg yet again, she produced "The Adventures of Tintin" (2011) and Spielberg's "War Horse" (2011), the latter earning Kennedy her seventh Best Picture nomination. In June 2012, George Lucas named Kennedy his co-chair and successor at Lucasfilm, the iconic film studio he founded in the late 1970s, shortly after announcing his retirement plans.

Credits

Master & Apprentice: A Special Look At Ahsoka

Self
Show
2023

AhsokaStream

Executive Producer
Miniseries
2023
86%

Indiana Jones and the Dial of DestinyStream

Producer
Movie
2023
70%

Willow

Executive Producer
Series
2022
84%

AndorStream

Executive Producer
Series
2022
96%

Obi-Wan KenobiStream

Executive Producer
Series
2022
82%

The Book of Boba FettStream

Executive Producer
Series
2021
66%

Under the Helmet: The Legacy of Boba Fett

Self
Show
2021

The MandalorianStream

Executive Producer
Series
2019
90%

Star Wars: The Rise of SkywalkerStream

Producer
Movie
2019
52%

Solo: A Star Wars StoryStream

Producer
Movie
2018
69%

Star Wars: The Last JediStream

Producer
Movie
2017
91%

Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryStream

Producer
Movie
2016
84%

The BFGStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2016
74%

SVJ - Stora vänliga jätten

Executive Producer
Movie
2016

De GVR

Executive Producer
Movie
2016

Star Wars: The Force AwakensStream

Producer
Movie
2015
93%

The Rude, the Mad, and the Funny

Executive Producer
Movie
2014

LincolnStream

Producer
Movie
2012
90%

War Horse: The Journey Home

Actor
Show
2011

Landet för länge sedan

Co-Executive Producer
Show
2011

De avonturen van Kuifje: Het geheim van de Eenhoorn

Producer
Movie
2011

Les aventures de Tintin : Le secret de la Licorne

Producer
Movie
2011

Tintins äventyr: Enhörningens hemlighet

Producer
Movie
2011

The Adventures of Tintin

Producer
Movie
2011

The Adventures of TintinStream

Producer
Movie
2011
75%

War Horse

Producer
Movie
2011

Die fantastische Welt der Borger

Executive Producer
Movie
2010

借りぐらしのアリエッティ

Executive Producer
Movie
2010

借りぐらしのアリエッティ

Executive Producer
Movie
2010

The Last AirbenderStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2010
5%

HereafterStream

Producer
Movie
2010
47%

The Secret World of Arrietty

Executive Producer
Movie
2010

Ponyo

Producer, English Version
Movie
2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonStream

Producer
Movie
2008
71%

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2008
77%

Ponyo - Das große Abenteuer am Meer

Producer, English Version
Movie
2008

崖の上のポニョ

Producer, English Version
Movie
2008

崖の上のポニョ

Producer, English Version
Movie
2008

崖の上のポニョ

Producer, English Version
Movie
2008

Ponyo

Producer, English Version
Movie
2008

Movies Rock

Executive Producer
Show
2007

The Diving Bell and the ButterflyStream

Producer
Movie
2007
94%

MunichStream

Producer
Movie
2005
78%

War of the WorldsStream

Producer
Movie
2005
76%

SeabiscuitStream

Producer
Movie
2003
78%

The Young Black StallionStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2003
44%

SignsStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2002
75%

The Sports Pages

Producer
Movie
2001

A.I. Artificial IntelligenceStream

Producer
Movie
2001
76%

Jurassic Park IIIStream

Producer
Movie
2001
49%

The Sixth SenseStream

Producer
Movie
1999
86%

Snow Falling on Cedars

Producer
Movie
1999

A Map of the WorldStream

Producer
Movie
1999
67%

Olympic Glory

Executive Producer
Movie
1999

The Lost World: Jurassic ParkStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1997
54%

TwisterStream

Producer
Movie
1996
63%

Balto

Executive Producer
Movie
1995

The Bridges of Madison CountyStream

Producer
Movie
1995
90%

CongoStream

Producer
Movie
1995
20%

The Indian in the Cupboard

Producer
Movie
1995

Balto

Executive Producer
Movie
1995

Balto : L'Histoire d'une légende

Executive Producer
Movie
1995

Balto

Executive Producer
Movie
1995

The FlintstonesStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1994
23%

Milk Money

Producer
Movie
1994

Rex och hans vänner - sv.tal

Executive Producer
Movie
1993

Alive

Producer
Movie
1993

A Far Off Place

Executive Producer
Movie
1993

Jurassic ParkStream

Producer
Movie
1993
91%

Schindler's ListStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1993
98%

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story

Executive Producer
Movie
1993

Niebezpieczna kobieta

Executive Producer
Movie
1993

Les quatre dinosaures et le cirque magique

Executive Producer
Movie
1993

Cape FearStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1991
75%

Hook

Producer
Movie
1991

Joe Versus the VolcanoStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1990
67%

Back to the Future Part IIIStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1990
80%

Gremlins 2: The New BatchStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1990
71%

Arachnophobia

Producer
Movie
1990

Back to the Future Part IIStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1989
63%

Always

Producer
Movie
1989

Who Framed Roger RabbitStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1988
96%

The Land Before TimeStream

Co-Executive Producer
Movie
1988
65%

Landet för länge sedan - sv.tal

Co-Executive Producer
Movie
1988

Qui veut la peau de Roger Rabbit ?

Executive Producer
Movie
1988

Le petit dinosaure et la vallée des merveilles

Co-Executive Producer
Movie
1988

Empire of the SunStream

Producer
Movie
1987
78%

*batteries not Included

Executive Producer
Movie
1987

The Money PitStream

Producer
Movie
1986
50%

An American Tail

Executive Producer
Movie
1986

Young Sherlock HolmesStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1985
65%

Back to the FutureStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1985
93%

The Color PurpleStream

Producer
Movie
1985
73%

The GooniesStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1985
77%

GremlinsStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1984
86%

Indiana Jones and the Temple of DoomStream

Associate Producer
Movie
1984
77%

E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialStream

Producer
Movie
1982
99%

CBS News Sunday Morning

Guest
News
1979

Good Morning America

Guest
News
1975

News aboutKathleen Kennedy