Writer/director/producer Jonathan Prince says it "must have been a giant disappointment to his family" when he first broke into show business as an actor on such series as "Mr. Merlin" and "Throb." Then his career took a dramatic turn worthy of any script when it dawned on him that his real future might lie on the other side of the camera.
"Here I was, a Harvard grad playing a 16-year-old on 'Mr. Merlin,' sitting around waiting for my close-up," says Prince. "I felt it was time for a change, so instead of waiting for the phone to ring as an actor, I decided to try writing. Turned out there were no close-ups, and I was still waiting for the phone to ring."
After Prince serendipitously met George Burns, he co-wrote and produced the feature film "18 Again" (starring Burns) and never looked back. He first became a consultant on a series of "Whatever Became of…?" television specials, which is where he began his relationship with Dick Clark, his fellow executive producer and partner on "American Dreams." He continued through the 1980s as a writer and script consultant on the series "Annie McGuire" (with Mary Tyler Moore) and "City" (with Valerie Harper). In 1990-91, he served as a writer and co-producer on "Lenny" before moving over to "Blossom" as a writer and supervising producer in the early 1990s. "(Executive producer) Don Reo became my mentor in the half-hour format at that time," says Prince, who credits writer/producers David Milch and John Romano for teaching him the drama writing craft.
Prince later was named the co-executive producer on "Something Wilder" (with Gene Wilder) and "Pauly" (with, of course, Pauly Shore) until he became co-creator, writer and executive producer on "Ask Harriet" in 1998. He continued amassing credits in the late 1990s with TV movies and such series as "The Grown Ups" (as a writer and executive producer) and as co-creator, writer and executive producer of the pilot of The WB series "The (Mis)Adventures of Fiona Plum." Along the way, Prince also directed episodes of such series as "Party of Five" and "Dream On," movies for television including Hallmark's "The Great Mom Swap," as well as the Hollywood Pictures feature film Camp Nowhere.
"I just want to do everything because it's good for the soul," he says. "I like to keep changing formats and assignments. I've been an actor, writer, director and producer in every one of the following: hour dramas, sit-coms, TV movies, and feature films – which probably means I just can't make up my mind."
Prince is passionate about his popular drama series "American Dreams." "Many period pieces are reflective," says Prince. "This series shows America during the most dramatic socio-cultural revolution in history – and because it's not reflective, no flashbacks, no voice-overs, the audience doesn't know if everything's going to be OK. And I think, in the wake of what happened on September 11, this series resonates, because people are asking 'Where are we now? Are we going to be ok?"
Prince, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, resides there with his 7-year-old son, Jackson.