As a student at Northwestern University, Larry Brody majored in English and practiced his craft writing dozens of short stories, poetry and essays. Being an avid science fiction fan, he started writing in the genre, and by the time he graduated he was selling stories to THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION and various men's magazines on a fairly regular basis.
After graduation he took a major career diversion by going to Law School but quit after one year and enrolled at the University of Iowa, which was well-known for its Writers Workshop. During that first school year Larry sold his first novel.
Armed with confidence from the book sale, LB and his first wife pulled up stakes and moved to L.A. in 1968. "It seemed like a good idea," Larry recalls. "My agent, who understood that I didn't see much of a future in writing for two cents a word, had a friend in the TV Department at the William Morris Agency. Not knowing anything about what screenplays looked like, but being a hardcore television watcher from way back, I got a book out of the school library and used the format it described to write a TV movie. I sent this to my agent's friend, Sylvia Hirsch, and when she said that based on that I had as good a chance as anyone of getting work in television, that's it, my then wife and I were off and running."
It was a tough adjustment for the young couple, both emotionally and financially. Larry's wife got a full-time teaching job while he struggled to finish his next novel, and take meetings with various showbiz power-brokers, hoping, like thousands of other Hollywood denizens, for his First Big Break.
That Big Break came several months later through a chance meeting with Sammy Jackson, a fading TV star looking to make a career comeback. After the abrupt cancellation of his hit series NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS, Jackson spent most of his time by the apartment complex pool, downing bottles of cheap wine and consoling himself with groupies who were mostly unaware that his show had been pulled off the air two years earlier.
Painfully shy at the time, Larry avoided Jackson and his fawning minions as he sat quietly by the pool, reading scripts and working on his novel. But one fateful day, Sammy spotted a script lying in LB's lap and walked over to introduce himself to the struggling young writer. The two struck up a friendship that would ultimately launch Larry's career.
"Sammy knew a number of producers," Larry recounts. "And he was sure that if he could go to them with the right project, he'd become a big star again. My part in this was to come up with the project, write it up, and then trust him to get it to the right guy. I'd end up creating a TV series, and we'd both be rich and successful."
Suckered in by Sammy's enthusiastic sales pitch, LB worked day and night on a twenty-page short story that was to be the basis for Sammy's new show. Entitled CORNPONE AND HONEY, it was a comedy about a cynical cartoonist who gets saddled with his neighbor's five-year old daughter, Honey, after they die in a car crash.
Jerry Katzman, one of the producers that Jackson had shown the story to, liked it enough to set up a meeting with Larry. But a few minutes into the meeting it became clear that Katzman had little interest in Jackson's star vehicle. He had a new project in development, a film entitled THE RISE AND FALL OF A ROCK AND ROLL SINGER, with Jim Morrison expected to star. Katzman wanted Larry to co-write the script with Arthur Dreifuss, an old-time B movie mayven who was also slated to direct.
Sammy Jackson, however, was left out in the cold, because once Katzman started concentrating on the movie, he lost all interest in Jackson's project. The discarded actor resumed his poolside drinking and debauchery while Larry worked feverishly with Dreifuss to bring the ROCK AND ROLL script in on a deadline.
But before production could begin, the studio had to have a sit-down with Jim Morrison to discuss the project. All went well until twenty minutes into the meeting when the rock and roll icon abruptly nixed the entire deal. Why? Because he had a beard and was adamant about not shaving it for the role. And at this time, never in the history of motion pictures had there been a romantic hero with a full, flowing face, neck, and chest-full of hair!
Larry was devastated. Not because the project failed but because he discovered he had no interest in finishing the novel he'd been working on when he met Sammy Jackson. "Now that I was in Hollywood," he says, "I just wasn't interested in "real writing" anymore! Besides, the fact that the film was never made seemed at the time almost a blessing. This way, I as a talent could be judged only by the script, which my agent immediately shipped out to every producer in TV. And, because I had written a genuine, commissioned motion picture script, every one of those producers wanted me to write at least one episode for his TV series. All I had to do was smile and work hard, and I was all set!"
HIS CAREER TO DATE
As a writer and producer, Larry Brody has been responsible for literally thousands of hours of network and first run syndication programming, including episodes of THE HUNTRESS, DIAGNOSIS MURDER, STAR TREK: VOYAGER, WALKER: TEXAS RANGER, HEAVEN HELP US, STAR TREK: TNG, SUPER FORCE, MIKE HAMMER, PARTNERS IN CRIME, MASQUERADE, AUTOMAN, THE FALL GUY, POLICE STORY, BARETTA, QUINCY, MEDICAL STORY, THE MAGICIAN, POLICEWOMAN, THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO, MEDICAL CENTER, CANNON, BARNABY JONES, THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, IRONSIDE, STAR TREK: The Animated Series, and both the SUPERMAN and SPIDER-MAN animated TV series. More recently, Larry was Executive Creative Consultant on SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED, and the highly acclaimed SILVER SURFER and SPAWN animated series.
A strong believer in the social responsibility of not only the artist, but of the media as a whole, Larry has for years crusaded to raise standards so that productions will be meaningful as well as entertaining. To that end, he has established TV Writer.Com (www.tvwriter.com), the most highly regarded and visited television writing site on the web, where he shares his experience and insight into the business and artistry of TV writing today.
In the summer of 2002 Larry moved with his third wife, Gwen, and teenage daughter, Amber, to St. Joe, Arkansas, to establish the Cloud Creek Institute for the Arts (www.cloudcreek.org). A non-profit charitable corporation dedicated to the advancement of the arts. The mission of CCIA is to foster and advance creativity and interest in all the arts by helping new artists develop their talents and skills, and to create an environment of respect, appreciation, and support for the arts in the community at large.
Larry is the winner of the Humanitas Certificate and the Population Institute Award for his outstanding work on MEDICAL STORY, and was nominated for both an Emmy and a Writers Guild Award for Best Dramatic Writing on that groundbreaking series. Larry also won the Women in TV & Film Award for the NBC television movie, FARRELL FOR THE PEOPLE, as well as the Nosotros Award for his work on the critically acclaimed, multi-award winning drama POLICE STORY.
He's written two e-books, nine novels, six books of poetry, and TELEVISION WRITING FROM THE INSIDE OUT: YOUR CHANNEL TO SUCCESS, which is now available in bookstores everywhere. Currently, Larry is a regular columnist for SCREENTALK magazine, offering words of advice to struggling young screenwriters, all hoping for their First Big Break.