Jeffrey Jacob “J.J.” Abrams was born on the east coast of the United States in New York City on 27 June 1966 but was raised on the west coast in Los Angeles with his parents and sister, Tracy Rosen. His mother, Carol Ann Abrams, was an executive producer, his father, Gerald W. Abrams, was a television producer, and his sister grew up to be a screenwriter, so it’s definitely safe to say that film-based talent runs strong in the family. After graduating Palisades High School at eighteen, he attended Sarah Lawrence College rather than film school because of his father’s film-industry experienced wisdom: “it’s more important that you go off and learn what to make movies about than how to make movies.”
Abrams’s own experience within the film industry began quite early, when he was just fifteen years old. It was then when he composed the music for Don Dohler’s 1982 film Nightbeast. Soon after that project concluded, Abrams collaborated on writing a feature film treatment with Jill Mazursky, which was purchased by renowned Touchstone Pictures during his senior year of university at Sarah Lawrence. That treatment grew to be Taking Care of Business, which was also Abrams’s premier produced film. He quickly followed with Regarding Henry and Forever Young, which respectively starred Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson. In 1994, he was contracted by Jeffrey Katzenberg to work alongside Sarah Lawrence alumni to develop the animation for popular DreamWorks film Shrek. A few years later, in 1998, Abrams, with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay, worked on the screenplay for Armageddon. Within that same year, Abrams began working on the four-season The WB Network television series Felicity where he functioned as executive producer and co-creator with Matt Reeves.
In 2001, Abrams founded production company Bad Robot with Bryan Burk under which he created and executive-produced ABC’s Alias and co-created and executive-produced the infamous television series Lost. Like Felicity, Abrams also wrote the opening theme music for both series Alias and Lost. As if 2001 wasn’t productive enough, Abrams also co-wrote and produced the thriller Joy Ride during the year. In 2006, Abrams served as executive producer of What About Brian and Six Degrees and experienced his premier feature directorial debut with Mission: Impossible III, which infamously stars Tom Cruise. Moreover, Abrams went on to produce the smash film Cloverfield in 2008 and to direct cult-classic Star Strek in 2009. Also in 2009, Abrams co-created, executive produced, and co-wrote with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman the FOX science fiction television-series Fringe, for which he also composed the theme music. 2009 also provided Abrams some comedic spotlight when he was featured in the MTV Movie Awards’s 1980s-style digital short Cool Guys Don’t Look at Explosions with Andy Samberg and Will Ferrell.
Super 8 was Abrams’s next directing project, and it was released on 10 June 2011. For that film, he wrote, directed, and co-produced with Steven Spielberg and Bryan Burk. He then directed the sequel to Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, which Bad Robot produced with Bryan Burk. In fantastic career-fulfilling fashion and on 25 January 2013, The Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm publicly appointed Abrams as director and producer of Star Wards: The Force Awakens, the seventh coming in the Star Wars film saga. After the film’s debut in late 2015, it grossed over $2 billion in the box office, making Abrams the second director to make a $2 billion movie since James Cameron’s Avatar. Also later in 2013, Abrams released a novel, S., written by Doug Dorst on 29 October.
In July 2016, Abrams shared the news that a fourth Star Trek was being prepared and then later that year he revealed that he is producing a film titled God Particle, the sequel to 10 Cloverfield Lane, which is said to be the follow-up to his 2008 Cloverfield. Currently, Abrams is living in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California with wife Katie McGrath, and he has three children whom he adores. When he’s not directing and/or producing movies, Abrams can be found serving on the Creative Council of Represent.Us, a nonpartisan anti-corruption organization. He continues to be a consistent and inspirational role model for young and old filmmakers around the world.