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Willard Huyck

Willard Huyck

Highest Rated: 100% Messiah of Evil (1975)

Lowest Rated: 13% Howard the Duck (1986)

Birthday: Sep 8, 1945

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

Willard Huyck perhaps remains best known for his Oscar-nominated screenplay to George Lucas' autobiographical feature "American Graffiti" (1973), which was crafted in collaboration with his wife Gloria Katz. The pair went on to had far less success as a director. Huyck and Katz have written such enduring Hollywood films as "American Graffiti" (1973), and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984), but as a co-writer and director he has been responsible for one of the most disastrous releases of all time -- "Howard the Duck." Huyck began in the entertainment business after being graduated from USC, starting as reader for Larry Gordon, then head of American-International Pictures. In 1969, Huyck collaborated with his college friend, John Milius, on the screenplay for "The Devil's Eight," which AIP released. He left AIP to devote himself to writing full-time, alongside Katz. They were hired by George Lucas to pen "American Graffiti," Lucas' autobiographical film about life during one night in a small California city in 1962. The result was a hit, an Academy Award nomination for Huyck and Katz, and the New York Film Critics Circle and National Society of Film Critics Awards. Huyck and Katz then decided that they would have more control of their projects if Huyck directed and Katz produced, besides their writing together. Their maiden effort in those capacities was "Messiah of Evil" (1974), a forgettable low-budget film. They returned to just scriptwriting with "Lucky Lady" (1975), which starred Liza Minnelli, Gene Hackman, and Burt Reynolds, and, again flopped. Huyck again directed in 1979 with "French Postcards," based on his experiences as an exchange student to France. The film received warm critical praise. In 1984 came "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (screenplay only). That same year, Katz produced and co-wrote with Huyck and Huyck directed "Best Defense," a war send-up starring Dudley Moore in which Eddie Murphy appears for 15 minutes. It was shunned at the box office. Huyck's "Howard the Duck" (1986), based on the comic strip about a cantankerous bird, lost more than $40 million at the box office. It was not until 1994 that Huyck and Katz again collaborated on a produced screenplay, "Radioland Murders," which was a modest success. In the interim, they did some work in TV. The duo executive produced and wrote "My Father's Homecoming," a TV movie for NBC (1988), and in 1989 collaborated on "Mothers, Daughters, and Lovers," a pilot for a potential NBC series about a mother who moves her two daughters to rural America.



32% 60% Radioland Murders Screenwriter $1.2M 1994
13% 38% Howard the Duck Director,
$15.0M 1986
No Score Yet 13% Best Defense Director,
- 1984
77% 82% Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Writer - 1984
No Score Yet 67% French Postcards Director,
- 1979
30% 35% Lucky Lady Screenwriter - 1975
100% 57% Messiah of Evil Director,
- 1975
95% 84% American Graffiti Writer - 1973


No Score Yet No Score Yet Elvira's 40th Anniversary, Very Scary, Very Special, Special Director 2021