A prolific scenarist long associated with sensitive women's films (Unstrung Heroes, A Little Princess, The Bridges of Madison County, The Mirror Has Two Faces), Richard LaGravenese cultivated a reputation for himself as the author of poignant, funny, and humanistic screenplays that gently touch the viewer's emotions without manipulating them.
A Big Apple native born October 30, 1959, LaGravenese came of age in Brooklyn and studied acting at New York University's experimental theater wing at the Tisch School for the Arts. As a student, he honed his skills with dialogue and formed a New York- and Toronto-based comedy troupe, for which he also wrote sketches. After a disastrous turn on the icky 1989 generation gap "comedy" Rude Awakening, starring Cheech Marin and Louise Lasser, LaGravenese supplemented his (unrelated) day job by working on the script for what became The Fisher King (1991) -- a project reflecting his lifelong fascination with mythology. Directed by Terry Gilliam (who shares La Gravenese's passion for antiquated Arthurial legends and myth), King debuted during the Christmas season of 1991 and became an instant runaway hit and Academy contender. This most unusual picture stars Jeff Bridges as long-haired Jack Lucas, a suicidal New York DJ who regains his grasp on life after meeting Parry, an ostensibly insane homeless man (Robin Williams) obsessed with questing for The Holy Grail in midtown Manhattan. At the 64th Annual Academy Awards, the 32-year-old LaGravenese netted an Oscar nomination for his original screenplay (Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen), though he lost to Callie Khouri for Thelma & Louise.