November 10, 1950
Haddonfield, New Jersey, United States
March 7, 2005
Los Angeles, California, United States
Producer, Director, Screenwriter, 2nd unit director, Assistant director, Editor, Script supervisor
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Her father had worked as an art director on many of the Hope/Crosby "Road" pictures and Debra Hill certainly paid her dues, first as a script supervisor on more than a dozen features before edging into editing and 2nd unit work. Her big break came when John Carpenter gave her the opportunity to produce "Halloween" (1978), a screenplay they had written together. She responded amazingly, managing to achieve a handsome look for under $400,000. Her next four producing projects were all with Carpenter ("The Fog" 1980, which she also co-wrote with him; "Escape from New York" 1981; "Halloween II" 1981, which she again co-scripted; and "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" 1982).Hill earned her first producing credit beyond the Carpenter sphere for David Cronenberg's "The Dead Zone" (1983) and followed with "Head Office" and "Clue" (both 1985) before joining forces with longtime friend and colleague Lynda Obst to form the independent production company Hill/Obst Productions. Hill/Obst produced Chris Columbus' "Adventures in Babysitting" (1987), the CBS pilot based on that film (1989), "Heartbreak Hotel" (1988), also directed by Columbus, and Terry Gilliam's "The Fisher King" (1991) before finally dissolving their partnership. In 1988, Hill signed an exclusive development and production deal at Walt Disney Pictures for her new company, Debra Hill Productions. She produced many short films for the Disney/MGM Studio Tour theme park in Orlando, FL, as well as the feature "Gross Anatomy" (1989) for Touchstone and "The Disneyland 35th Anniversary Special" for NBC. In 1994, Hill, along with Lou Arkoff, Willie Kutner and David Giler produced 10 remakes of 50s movies for Showtime's "Rebel Highway" series (i.e., "Girls in Prison," "Shake, Rattle and Rock"). The 90s also reunited her twice with Carpenter as executive producer for the sequel "John Carpenter's Escape from L.A." (1996) and the HBO Western "El Diablo" (1990).