Robert Towne Biography

Robert Towne photo

Born: November 23, 1934


Date of Birth: November 23, 1934

Born in Los Angeles, California, Robert Towne was raised in the seaport town of San Pedro. His big break came in his early twenties, when he wrote a screenplay, Last Woman on Earth (1960), that was picked up by legendary director/producer Roger Corman.

By the 1970s he was well known in Hollywood as a talented screenwriter, who received his first Oscar nomination in 1974 for the film The Last Detail (1973) and a BAFTA Film Award. The following year, he won not only a Best Screenplay Oscar for Chinatown (1974), but also a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Film Award. He received two more Oscar nominations, for Shampoo (1975) and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984).

Towne made his feature directing debut with Personal Best (1982), which he also wrote, followed by Tequila Sunrise (1988), starring Mel Gibson and Michelle Pfeiffer. He co-wrote and directed his next film, Without Limits (1998), which was a box office success. For Ask the Dust (2006) starring Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek, Towne adapted John Fante's Depression era novel, in addition to helming the production.

Next up for Towne is a remake of the 1935 Hitchcock thriller, The 39 Steps.

Married to second wife Luisa since 1984, they have one child together. He also has a daughter, actress Katharine Towne, from his first marriage, to actress Julie Payne.


The 39 Steps(2007)
Ask the Dust(2006)
Without Limits(1998)
Tequila Sunrise (1988)
Personal Best (1982)

Change Location