John McTiernan Biography

John McTiernan photo

Born: January 08, 1951


Date of Birth: January 8, 1951

Hailing from Albany, New York, McTiernan has been involved with theatrical arts for most of his life. His father was an opera singer, and McTiernan made his theatrical debut at age seven playing bit roles in his father's shows.

After graduating from Exeter prep school, he enrolled at Juilliard to study theatre directing, but quickly realized his real interest was film.

Moving from Juilliard to the State University of New York, he then received a fellowship from the American Film Institute.

During his stay, he was given a grant to complete his student film, Watcher. He then became designer and technical director at the Manhattan School of Music.

Once out of school, McTiernan wrote and directed television commercials while writing his first screenplay.

That script, Nomads, became his feature directorial debut, starring Pierce Brosnan. With a strong showing at Cannes, McTiernan moved on to his next feature, Predator. The film became a hit, putting McTiernan in the Hollywood spotlight.

With everyone watching his next move, he took the opportunity to blow them all away with his next feature, Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis. A critical and commercial success, it received first-rate reviews around the world, and was one of the most successful pictures of the year. Following yet another commercial success, The Hunt for Red October, McTiernan then turned his talents to making a movie that dealt with his deeply held environmental concerns.

He teamed with Connery in a Latin American rain forest setting for Medicine Man. Although his heart was in the right place, the film bombed at the box office, and McTiernan wasn't able to regain his lost ground until 1995 when he released the third Die Hard film, Die Hard: With a Vengeance. He completed the 20th century with two more blockbusters, The 13th Warrior and The Thomas Crown Affair.

In 1997, McTiernan received the Franklin J. Schaffner Award for Achievement in Directing from the American Film Institute.

Married to film producer, Donna Dubrow, for ten years, the two divorced in 1997.


Basic (2003)
Rollerball (2002)
The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)
The 13th Warrior (1999)
Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995)
Last Action Hero (1993)
Medicine Man (1992)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Die Hard (1988)
Predator (1987)
Nomads (1986)

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