Doug Claybourne - Biography


Born in Houston, Texas, raised and educated in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Doug Claybourne came circuitously into the movie business from a background of advertising and art direction studies after obtaining a BS degree from the University of Tulsa. Thereafter came two years of postgraduate study at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles before Claybourne turned to film. It took a six-month stint as an assistant art director on The City of San Francisco magazine and a working relationship with the owner, Francis Ford Coppola, to convince Claybourne to make the switch official.

Early in 1976, during his first semester of film school after exiting City magazine, Claybourne, prompted by a quote attributed to Coppola, " ...the problem with most film students is, they're afraid to take risks," Claybourne offered to work "at no charge" for the next eight weeks, just to find out if the movie business was something he really wanted to pursue over the long term. The film was "Apocalypse Now" and eight weeks turned out to be 3 1/2 years.

Falling back on his Vietnam, Marine Corps experience, he joined the Coppola unit in the Philippines as a production assistant wrangling helicopters. Later he became the assistant director on the 2nd unit, coordinating the shooting of helicopter and patrol boat footage. Eventually, he graduated to the main unit taking over as Coppola's 1st assistant director. He stayed on after shooting as the postproduction coordinator and special assistant to the producers during the remaining two and a half years of production and postproduction until the release in August 1979.

Claybourne's mentor association with Coppola and Zoetrope continued through the years with "The Black Stallion" (assistant director), "The Escape Artist" (producer), "The Black Stallion Returns" (producer/assistant director), "Rumble Fish" (producer), "Peggy Sue Got Married" (assistant director) and "Jack" as executive producer.

The Zoetrope relationship also produced the 1992 Emmy and ACE award winning documentary "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse," which Claybourne conceived with George Zaloom and executive produced with his long time associate Fred Roos. "Hearts of Darkness" used new and original documentary footage directed by Eleanor Coppola.

Claybourne also produced "Ernest Saves Christmas" for Disney's Touchstone banner as a birthday present for his daughter Signe Laurin, born December 6, 1983. Years later, Doug put on a special screening of "The Fast and the Furious" prior to it's opening for his son Dorsey's 13 th birthday - that became Dorsey's favorite movie produced by his dad and he now owns a suped up Honda.

In July of 1998, Claybourne completed work on his 21st feature film, "The Mask of Zorro," for Steven Spielberg's, Amblin Entertainment and Tristar Pictures. Zorro filmed on location in Pachuca, Sonora, Tlaxcala and Mexico City from November 1996 through July 1997, another 2 1/2 year adventure. "The Mask of Zorro" was nominated for two Golden Globes, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Antonio Banderas. Zorro was also nominated for two academy awards in Sound and Sound Effects achievement.

Claybourne met Rob Cohen while filling in as a favor, as an assistant director during the making of "The Legend of Billie Jean." This meeting led to a three picture producing association with the Taft/Barish company and ultimately to, "The Fast and the Furious" with Cohen directing. Touted as a "cultural phenomenon" F&F opened to a phenomenal June 22, 2001 weekend of $41.7 million with a negative cost of $39 million dollars.

Other movies with Cohen were "Light of Day" with Michael J. Fox and "The Serpent and the Rainbow" with Wes Craven directing and David Ladd sharing producing duties.

Doug also executive produced and completed work on "North Country" in Mexico and Minnesota, directed by New Zealander Niki Caro, starring Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Sissy Spacek, Woody Harrelson and Sean Bean. Following that, he produced for his writer partner, L.D. Napier the feature length documentary, "Every Twenty One Seconds," eight stories of Brain Injury in seven parts for the State of New Mexico released in 2006.

Doug also produced an off Broadway play, THE G WORD: FOR THOSE BORN LATER, to benefit Darfur refugees. The play was written and directed by L.D. Napier, his writer/director partner, and all proceeds went to three on the ground organizations in Darfur. The show went up at La MaMa in the East Village in 2008. "Nights in Rodanthe" was released in October 2008, with Diane Lane and Richard Gere, which Doug executive produced for Warner Brothers. A love story, this was Doug's 3rd film with Diane Lane ("Rumble Fish"/"Jack") the feature directing debut of George C. Wolfe out of the New York Public Theatre. Doug is casting and in early pre-production on "Mis-Fits" to star Freida Pinto, Cloris Leachman, Seymour Cassel and Virginie Ledoyen. An off beat comedy about finding family and a guy who looks for other people's lost dead relatives to release in 2012.

Since 2002, Doug has been putting more time and energy into his painting. Painting has become a serious passion and in October Doug began showing a few pieces of his work at the Gold Light Gallery in New Hope, across from the Ivy Land train station with a half dozen very talented artists. Doug continues to actively develop film projects for his production company, Poetry & Pictures Inc. while pursuing his passion for writing poetry and painting in watercolor. He has written some twenty-five books of poetry, since 1995, only one of which has he taken time to self-publish.

The published book is entitled "One hundred love sonnets and one sad poem." The readings are accompanied by an original score created by the popular solo pianist Jim Brickman of Windham Hill Records. Doug and his writer/director partner L.D. Napier recently relocated their home and offices to Doylestown, PA a short train ride to New York, in order to give their 3 year old daughter some space allowing her to have a goat or a few chickens. Puck, puck, puck.


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