John Randal Kleiser (born July 20, 1946) is an American film director and producer, perhaps best known for directing the 1978 musical romantic comedy film Grease.
Kleiser was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Harriet Kelly (née Means) and John Raymond Kleiser. He was raised in the Pennsylvania Dutch community in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Kleiser attended Radnor High School.
Kleiser has directed several feature films, including Grease (1978), The Blue Lagoon (1980) with Brooke Shields, Summer Lovers (1982) with Daryl Hannah, Grandview, U.S.A. (1984) with Jamie Lee Curtis, Flight of the Navigator (1986), featuring the first use of digital morphing in a film, Big Top Pee-wee (1988), White Fang (1991) and Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992).
In London, Kleiser directed the comedy Getting It Right (1989), starring Jesse Birdsall, Lynn Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter, Jane Horrocks and Sir John Gielgud. In 1996, he wrote and directed It's My Party, starring Eric Roberts, Gregory Harrison, Lee Grant, Bruce Davison and Marlee Matlin. As a writer-producer, he was responsible for the surfing film North Shore (1987) for Universal Pictures. He also directed the thriller Shadow of Doubt (1998) with Melanie Griffith and Tom Berenger. Working in 70mm 3-D, he directed Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (1995) for the Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo and Paris, re-teaming up with most of the principal actors from Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. His television films include The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976) with John Travolta, the Emmy-Award-winning The Gathering (1977) and Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (1976).
As a freshman at the University of Southern California, Kleiser appeared in George Lucas' student film Freiheit. (Kleiser also lived in the house that Lucas was renting at the time.) Kleiser's award-winning Master's thesis film Peege launched his career; he graduated in 1968. He has taught a graduate workshop at USC and Masters Directing Classes for European students at film festivals in Deuville and Sarlat, and Malaga. He serves as a judge on the Student Awards for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; and, as chairman of the Academic Subcommittee for the Directors Guild of America, he inaugurated a videoconferencing program to connect film classes with working directors. Working with the Graphics Lab at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, he has co-invented a digital Cinerama-like process called Vistarama HD.
Kleiser was the marshalling force in planning and filming Red Riding Hood (2004/2006). The work broke new ground in digital cinematography through the extensive use of interactive virtual sets. During 2006 in Lisbon, this movie was released for its debut at the 1st International Digital Cinema Festival.
Kleiser's house was used in the film Scream 3. Kleiser was inducted into Radnor High School's Hall of Fame on October 20, 2006.
Kleiser was Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts' Filmmaker in Residence for Fall 2010.
- Freiheit (1966) (short)
- Peege (1973) (short)
- Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (1975) (TV movie)
- The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976) (TV movie)
- The Gathering (1977) (TV movie)
- Grease (1978)
- The Blue Lagoon (1980)
- Summer Lovers (1982)
- Grandview, U.S.A. (1984)
- Flight of the Navigator (1986)
- Big Top Pee-wee (1988)
- Getting It Right (1989)
- White Fang (1991)
- Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992)
- Honey, I Shrunk the Audience! (1994) (short)
- It's My Party (1996)
- Shadow of Doubt (1998)
- Royal Standard (1999) (TV movie)
- Love Wrecked (2005)
- Red Riding Hood (2006)
- Nominee Best Director - Saturn Awards (Honey I Blew Up the Kid)
- Nominee Best Director - Saturn Awards (Flight of the Navigator)