Hampton Fancher

Actor, Director, Writer

18/07/1938 (82 years old)

From teen actor to toast-of-the-town screenwriter, there aren't many aspects of the film industry with which Hampton Fancher isn't familiar. Although his career may not have exactly taken the path he anticipated, Fancher has still managed to maintain a fairly optimistic view. The L.A. native opted to live in Spain while still in his teens, and after changing his name to Mario Montejo, he became an accomplished flamenco dancer. Returning the States in the early '60s, Fancher sought work as an actor and married 17-year-old actress Sue Lyon. When the short-lived union ended bitterly, Fancher withdrew to focus more on his writing; by the end of the 1970s, Fancher had abandoned acting entirely and screenwriting became the driving force in his career. When his screenplay for Blade Runner was sold in the early '80s, it seemed that everyone wanted a piece of him; but the film was largely considered a failure when originally released in 1982, and with the notable exception of 1989's The Mighty Quinn, it would be several years before another of Fancher's scripts was actually produced. Although he had envisioned himself directing movies, composing music, and writing books until retirement, it wasn't until he was 60 that the long-absent screenwriter would make his directorial debut. A low-key thriller that follows an amiable serial killer as he settles into a comfortable, small-town existence, The Minus Man found Fancher adapting Lew McCreary's suspenseful novel to surprising effect. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, the film also benefited from solid performances by lead Owen Wilson and supporting players Janeane Garofalo, Dennis Haysbert, Dwight Yoakam, and Mercedes Ruehl. Success came as a welcome highlight to Fancher, and instead of becoming embittered by the things he had not accomplished earlier in life, the aging director pressed on in hopes of getting his screenplay for "The Black Weasel" produced.