Born: 10 March 1953
Birthplace: London, Ontario, Canada
Best known as: Writer and director of the film Crash
Paul Haggis had a long, steady career as a writer of television shows before he broke into feature films in a big way: he earned an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay of Million Dollar Baby (2004, starring Clint Eastwood), then wrote and directed Crash, the Oscar-winning best picture of 2005. A native of Canada, Haggis moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s. A serendipitous chance to write an episode of the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes turned into a full-time gig, and by the end of the decade Haggis was an experienced TV writer with credits on series like One Day at a Time (1975) and The Love Boat (1977). During the '80s Haggis had even more success with TV drama, winning two Emmys for his work on thirtysomething. Haggis later created Walker, Texas Ranger (1993-2001), the Chuck Norris hit that was snubbed by critics. He followed up with Due South (1994) and EZ Streets (1996), shows loved by critics but cancelled by networks. After more tries at television series, including the 1997 David Caruso vehicle Michael Hayes, Haggis was able to get Million Dollar Baby made, with Eastwood directing. Around the same time, Haggis directed Crash, from a screenplay he had written with Bobby Moresco. The drama featured an ensemble cast that included Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Terrence Howard and Ryan Phillippe, but did not gain widespread distribution for more than a year after its 2003 debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. By the time the movie was a hit Haggis was working on screenplays for Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima (both 2006) and penning the script for the James Bond thriller Casino Royale (2006, starring Daniel Craig). Haggis's modern war drama In the Valley of Elah was well-received, if not a smash at the box office, and brought star Tommy Lee Jones an Oscar nomination.
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