Todd Graff Biography

Todd Graff photo

Born: October 22, 1959


Date of Birth: October 22, 1959

The son of professional musicians, at the age of 10, Todd Graff sang on the original Sesame Street cast album. He was a camper, then worked as a counselor at the Stagedoor Manor performing arts summer camp in New York. At the age of 15, he made his TV debut as Jess on the educational childrens' series The Electric Company and stayed with the series for two years until it ended its run in 1977.

After graduating from college, Todd began his acting career in earnest, obtaining work in a number of widely viewed projects, starting with the 1983 ABC Afterschool Special It's No Crush, I'm in Love and Norman Lear's TV movie P.O.P. in 1984, followed by roles in theatrical movies such as Dominic and Eugene, starring Ray Liotta and Tom Hulce; James Cameron's The Abyss, John Sayles' City of Hope and Opportunity Knocks with Dana Carvey.

In 1985 Todd was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Danny in the Broadway musical Baby, then in 1987, he starred Off-Broadway in the musical Birds of Paradise.

By 1992 he was writing movie screenplays, including Fly By Night (in which he also played a small role), The Vanishing, Angie and The Beautician and the Beast. In 2003 he made his directorial debut with his screenplay Camp, starring a young Anna Kendrick. The film was accepted in Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival and won first prize at the Sydney and Provincetown Film Festivals, though it only received a limited U.S. theatrical release.

His next screenplay, which he also directed, was the major motion picture Bandslam, starring Vanessa Hudgens, Lisa Kudrow and David Bowie. The movie received a wide release and was a success not only with teen audiences, but a hit with critics, receiving an 80 per cent approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

For the stage, Todd directed the 2007 musical 13, by Jason Robert Brown and Dan Ellish, at the Mark Taper Forum.

Next, Todd had the opportunity to direct Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton in his screenplay Joyful Noise, which was given a wide release by Warner Bros. Pictures. In his early days, Todd worked as a back up singer and since then, in additing to writing, directing and acting, he has produced of several motion pictures.

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