Jonathan Lynn Biography

Jonathan Lynn photo

Born: April 03, 1943


Date of Birth: April 3, 1943

Born in Bath, England, Jonathan Lynn earned a degree in Law from Cambridge University. While a student, Lynn joined a drama club and began acting in university productions. He would never go on to practice law and instead, made his professional acting debut on Broadway in the revue Cambridge Circus, also featuring John Cleese and Graham Chapman, who would go on fame as members of Monty Python. All three made their television debut in 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing a sketch from the revue. Lynn returned to England, where he received much critical acclaim for his first West End role in Green Julia in 1965.

By the late 1960s, Lynn had not only been a regular on two British television shows, but he also began writing for various television series. In 1974, his first feature film script, The Internecine Project, starring James Coburn, was produced. In 1976, Lynn's first novel, A Proper Man, was published. He co-created and co-wrote two hit British series: Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister. Lynn earned a British Academy Writers' Award for his work, while the series went on to win several BAFTA awards and a Cable Ace award in the United States. Lynn began directing plays in London and in 1985, wrote and directed his first screenplay, Clue, featuring an all-star cast that included Tim Curry, Michael McKean, Eileen Brennan and Christopher Lloyd. Lynn returned to acting for a while before writing and directing his next feature film, Nuns on the Run (1990), starring Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane. The comedy won the Golden Cane Award at the Festival de Comedie in Switzerland.

Lynn moved to Los Angeles, where he began directing Hollywood features such the commercial and critical hit My Cousin Vinny (1992). Next up for Lynn was The Distinguished Gentleman (1992), starring Eddie Murphy, followed by Greedy (1994), starring Michael J. Fox and Kirk Douglas. Although Sgt. Bilko (1996), starring Steve Martin and Trial and Error (1997) didn't do as well as some of his previous films at the box office, he bounced back with The Whole Nine Yards (2000), starring Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry. The film was Number one at the U.S. box office for three weeks, and a sequel was subsequently planned, although Lynn turned it down, instead directing Cuba Gooding Jr. in The Fighting Temptations (2003).

He has written three best-selling books: The Complete Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, Volumes 1 and 2 based on the television series, which between them, sold over a million hardcover copies. In 1993 his fifth book, Mayday, about a best-selling British author living in a Hollywood Hills mansion, was published by Viking/Penguin. Lynn is currently developing a film based on that novel.

Filmography (director):

The Fighting Temptations(2003)
The Whole Nine Yards(2000)
Trial and Error(1997)
Sgt. Bilko (1996)
Greedy (1994)
The Distinguished Gentleman (1992)
My Cousin Vinny (1992)
Nuns on the Run(1990)

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