Alek Keshishian (Armenian: Ալեք Գևորգի Քեշիշյան, born 30 July 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon) is an Armenian-American film and commercial director, writer, producer and music video director. He is best known for his 1991 film Madonna: Truth or Dare which was, at the time, the highest-grossing documentary of all time.
Alek was raised in Manchester, New Hampshire in the USA along with his sister Aleen by their Armenian parents Dr. Kevork and Cecil Keshishian. His parents are frequently seen on segments of Chelsea Lately, known as 'Keeping Up With the Keshishians'. While he was a superb student of math and sciences, and his father wished Alek would follow in his footsteps in medicine, Alek's talent and passion for music, theatre, and dance was too strong. As a youngster, both he and his sister toured with the NH Children's Theatre, American Children's Theatre, and the "I Like the U.S. of A." National Touring Company. While studying at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, he quickly became one of the program's lead dancers. Before graduating from Harvard University, he co-produced the then 137-year Harvard tradition of the Hasty Puddings. The Hasty Pudding Show at Harvard claims several future luminaries, including Jack Lemmon and Fred Gwynne.
Keshishian’s professional journey began straight out of college in Hollywood. He started as a music video director where he made clips for artists like Bobby Brown, Elton John and Vanessa Williams.
Madonna, who had viewed a VHS home recording of Keshishian’s pop opera at Harvard, unbeknownst to Alek, had asked her agents to send her everything he directed. When he was 26, Keshishian got a call from Madonna who asked him to direct the HBO special for her Blonde Ambition Tour. Four days later, Keshishian travelled to Japan to shoot some backstage footage for the HBO special. Candid backstage footage captured in Japan, led Madonna to let him direct a feature-length documentary movie instead. Truth or Dare became the biggest grossing documentary of its time
The Warner Bros. feature With Honors, starring Joe Pesci, Brendan Fraser, and Patrick Dempsey came next. It was the number one movie in America for the first two weeks of its release.
At age 29, Keshishian turned his back on Hollywood, and focused on photography and commercials instead, producing work for clients including Coca Cola, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Brut by Faberge, Aprilia, Baileys, and Max Factor.
Keshishian left London in 2006, after writing, directing and producing an indie comedy farce called Love and Other Disasters, starring Brittany Murphy, Matthew Rhys, and Catherine Tate, which was a festival favorite and even opened the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
Returning to the U.S., he directed commercials and special projects like Jennifer Aniston’s two Smartwater campaigns. He also shot the hilarious shower shorts that featured Chelsea Handler with both Sandra Bullock and Conan O’Brien.
Recently, Keshishian has been writing and developing two projects for David Fincher: one for TV called La Luna and the other a feature called Adult Services.
- Madonna: Truth or Dare (aka In Bed with Madonna) – documentary (1991)
- With Honors (1994)
- Love and Other Disasters (2006)
- W.E. (2011) – co-writer with Madonna
- "Don't Be Cruel" (1988) (Bobby Brown)
- "My Prerogative" (1988) (Bobby Brown)
- "Don't Rush Me" (1988) (Taylor Dayne)
- "Every Little Step" (1989) (Bobby Brown)
- "On Our Own" (1989) (Bobby Brown)
- "Sacrifice" (1990) (Elton John)
- "Like a Virgin (Truth or Dare version)" (1991) (Madonna)
- "Holiday (Truth or Dare version)" (1991) (Madonna)
- "This Used to Be My Playground" (1992) (Madonna)
- "I'll Remember" (1994) (Madonna)
- "Insatiable" (2002) (Darren Hayes)
- "Hands to Myself" (2015) (Selena Gomez)