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Producer Gale Anne Hurd: First Lady of Sci-Fi

Updated on September 27, 2014


Gale Anne Hurd


Rock n' Roll High School

Roger Corman's Rock n' Roll High School, in which Gale Anne Hurd was production assistant.
Roger Corman's Rock n' Roll High School, in which Gale Anne Hurd was production assistant.

In the world of Hollywood, Gale Anne Hurd has proven herself a virtual powerhouse. After more than thirty-five years in the film industry, she could easily boast of an impressive and lengthy resume. She can currently be found on a number of upcoming projects with her own production company, 'Valhalla Entertainment' ; the same company which produces the popular, award-winning series for AMC Television, The Walking Dead. Having not only developed the series in partnership with director Frank Darabont, she has also produced more than twenty-five episodes. Based on the comic of the same name, The Walking Dead has been cited as the top-rated show in basic cable history. With an amazing talent and career, Gale Anne Hurd has built a following and a legacy that continues to help shape and define science-fiction as we know it today.

Born in Los Angeles on October 25, 1955, Gale Anne Hurd graduated from Stanford University in 1977 with a BA in Economics and Communications. After receiving her diploma, her first job was with Roger Corman at the legendary director's production company, 'New World Pictures.' Initially having secured a position with Corman as an executive assistant, she steadily made her way through the ranks of other desk jobs, until finally becoming involved in production. Her first assignment was location manager for the U.S.version of 1979s Screamers: a film in which her boss, Roger Corman was executive producer.She then went on to rock it with The Ramones as production assistant on the cult classic, Rock n' Roll High School. And again on Alligator (1980) produced by 'Alligator, Inc.' But, it wasn't until 1982 when Hurd formed her own production company, 'Pacific Western Productions,' that she would go on to develop and produce some of the most famous sci-fi films in Hollywood history.

Long before Arnold Schwarzenegger became famous for being the "Governator" of California, Gale Anne Hurd and future husband James Cameron co-wrote the 1984 sci-fi/action mega-hit The Terminator. The film cast Schwarzenegger in what remains his most recognizable and famous role to date. With Hurd having also produced the film, she and Cameron were awarded the Saturn Award (aka, The Golden Scroll) presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. The duo was honored with the award for Best Writing In Any Motion Picture. The award and film were not only feathers in she and Cameron's respective caps, but was also, retrospectively, only the beginning of things to come.


Gale Anne Hurd and James Cameron
Gale Anne Hurd and James Cameron | Source



Gale Anne Hurd once again joined forces with new hubby James Cameron on the 1986 multi-award winning ALIENS. With Cameron as director, Hurd was part of the production team which also included executive producers Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill. Aside from simply becoming one of the greatest films of all time, it also went on to receive seven nominations and two Academy Awards. After producing two more features in 1988--Bad Dreams, which starred the great Richard Lynch, and sci-fi 80's classic Alien Nation--, Hurd then went on to produce another big budget project with Cameron as director. The year 1989 saw the release of, yet another, Oscar-winning film with The Abyss. However, the celebration would prove to be short-lived. The same year of the film's release would also bring divorce for Hurd and Cameron.

The 1990s brought not only more film projects and awards for Hurd, but changes in the producer's personal life as well. After taking on the role as executive producer on the 1990 darkly humorous, horror classic Tremors, which subsequently was awarded for five awards, she then went on the following year to marry director Brian De Palma. Once again she teamed-up with James Cameron for the long-awaited sequel to Terminator. Terminator 2: Judgment Day had also been a multi-nominated and award winning film.

Gale Anne Hurd receives her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Gale Anne Hurd receives her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. | Source

After one child together, Hurd and De Palma divorced two years later in 1993. Obviously not one to be discouraged, she once again walked down the aisle for the third (and last) time with current husband and filmmaker Jonathan Hensleigh. Hurd then went on to produce 1997s The Relic. It was then in 1998 that she was honored with the Women In Film Crystal Award. An award which is given to those women who have made significant contributons within the film industry. An award that has been bestowed on other great women in the film industry, such as academy award winning JAWS editor and Universal Studios executive, Verna Fields. Hurd then wound-down the decade as producer on the film Virus (1999), which starred William Baldwin and legendary scream-queen Jamie Lee Curtis.

After two divorces, a new marriage, motherhood, as well as numerous other accolades, Gale Anne Hurd still had plenty of passion and steam left for the new century. A century that has already seen her as producer on such films as Clockstoppers (2002), Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines (2003), Hulk (2003),and the film adaptation of another popular comic book series, The Punisher (2004). More recently, Hurd has produced the sequel to Hulk: 2008s The Incredible Hulk, starring everyone's favorite green guy, Lou Ferrigno. She is also responsible for a series of comic book titles produced by her own 'Valhalla Comics.' She has also been involved in writing for the various Terminator video games.

Along with her duties as CEO for Valhalla Entertainment, with it's steady production of The Walking Dead , comic books, film scripts and editing, this wife and mother also finds the time to speak at various public engagements, and is the Recording Secretary for the Producers Guild of America. In October 2012, Gale Anne Hurd finally received a well-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. After more than three decades in the industry, this amazing lady shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. She has an amazingly successful career that is, quite frankly, unusual for women in Hollywood. Nonetheless, is an inspiration to us all. As she continues with her successes, Gale Anne Hurd continues to build a legacy of horror and science-fiction that will last and inspire generations to come.

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