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Stephen Gaghan

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Title: Stephen Gaghan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Traffic (2000 film), Aaron Sorkin, 2000 in film, Alexander Payne, Steven Zaillian
Collection: 1965 Births, American Film Directors, American Male Novelists, American Male Screenwriters, American Mystery Writers, American Screenwriters, American Television Writers, Babson College Alumni, Bafta Winners (People), Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award Winners, Best Screenplay Golden Globe Winners, Edgar Award Winners, English-Language Film Directors, Living People, Male Television Writers, People from Louisville, Kentucky, Primetime Emmy Award Winners, Writers from Louisville, Kentucky, Writers Guild of America Award Winners
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Stephen Gaghan

Stephen Gaghan
Born (1965-05-06) May 6, 1965
Louisville, Kentucky
Alma mater University of Kentucky
Babson College
Occupation Film director, screenwriter
Spouse(s) Minnie Mortimer (2007-present)[1]

Stephen Gaghan (born May 6, 1965) is an American screenwriter and director.[2] He is noted for writing the screenplay for Steven Soderbergh's film Traffic,[2] based on a Channel 4 series, for which he won the Academy Award,[3] as well as Syriana which he wrote and directed.


  • Childhood and education 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Credits 4
    • Writer 4.1
    • Director 4.2
    • Actor 4.3
    • Producer 4.4
    • Personal appearances 4.5
  • Awards and nominations 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Childhood and education

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of the former Elizabeth Jane Whorton and her first husband, Stephen Gaghan (d. 1980), and a stepson of Tom Haag, Gaghan attended Kentucky Country Day School, a college preparatory school in Louisville. He was an All-State soccer player where he held the assist record at the school for nearly three decades. He is a grandson of Jerry Gaghan, a newspaper columnist and drama critic for Variety and the Philadelphia Daily News.[4] Gaghan wrote in a 2001 article in Newsweek, "I also wanted to be a writer, like my grandfather, who carried a card in his wallet that read, "If you find me, call my son [my father] at this number..."[5]

In his final days of high school before graduation, Gaghan was expelled for driving a go-cart through the halls of the school. During the release of Traffic, a critic commented on one of the teen characters in the movie who is a drug addict and a straight-A student, calling it unrealistic, which Gaghan defended by stating that he had straight A's while he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. As Gaghan wrote in an article published in Newsweek in February 2001, "I wasn't much different from my peers, except where they could stop drinking after three or six or 10 drinks, I couldn't stop and wouldn't stop until I had progressed through marijuana, cocaine, heroin and, finally, crack and freebase--which seem for so many people to be the last stop on the elevator." Gaghan has stated that he began dealing with his addictions in 1997. "Over one long, five-day weekend, I had three separate heroin dealers get arrested," he said. "My dealer, my backup dealer and my backup-backup dealer. I was left alone, and I just hit that place, that total incomprehensible demoralization. That was the end of it; up five days straight, locked in the bathroom, convinced there was nowhere else to go, I had to kill myself, I'm going to kill myself. I just couldn't take another minute of it."[6]

He attended the University of Kentucky and was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity.[7] He attended Babson College in Massachusetts.[8] He also started a catalog company, Fallen Empire Inc., which he hoped would support his writing career.


Gaghan wrote the screenplay for Traffic, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2000. In addition to Traffic, Gaghan also directed and wrote the screenplays for Syriana (2005) and Abandon (2002), the former receiving comparable critical acclaim to Traffic, while the latter turned out to be a total fiasco. Other writing credits include Havoc (2005), The Alamo (2004) and Rules of Engagement (2000), as well as a handful of episodes of various television series. Gaghan turned down the chance to adapt Dan Brown's novel, The Da Vinci Code.

In his television writing career, he won an Emmy Award for co-writing a NYPD Blue episode entitled Where's Swaldo, in 1997. In addition to NYPD Blue, he has also written for The Practice and New York Undercover.

His next project is a film adaptation of Malcolm Gladwell's book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. He has also been hired by Warner Bros. to write the screenplay of the Dead Spy Running franchise written by author Jon Stock.[9] He is also set to direct crime thriller Candy Store.[10]

Personal life

Gaghan has a son Gardner (b. 1999) and daughter Elizabeth (b. 2001) from a previous relationship with actress Michael McCraine.[1] On May 19, 2007, Gaghan married Marion "Minnie" Mortimer;[1] they have a daughter together (b. Feb. 2, 2009).[11]






Personal appearances

Awards and nominations

Gaghan has won an Emmy Award, Writers Guild of America Awards, Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award.


  1. ^ a b c L. Hamilton, William (May 27, 2007). "Stephen Gaghan and Minnie Mortimer".  
  2. ^ a b "Stephen Gaghan".  
  3. ^ Gaghan, Stephen (June 24, 2013). "How One Writer Turned a Love for Writing Into an Oscar- and Emmy-Award Winning Career".  
  4. ^ "George Skinner, a Broadcast Pioneer". Broadcast Pioneers. 
  5. ^ Gaghan, Stephen (2001). "The Enemy is Every One of Us".  
  6. ^ Lyman, Rick (February 5, 2001). "The Screenwriter for 'Traffic' Says He Drew on His Past of Drug Use".  
  7. ^ "Delta Tau Delta Fraternity". 
  8. ^ "Babson at the movies" (PDF). Babson Magazine. 
  9. ^ "'"Stephen Gaghan set to adapt 'Dead Spy.  
  10. ^ "'"Jason Clarke And Omar Sy To Star In Stephen Gaghan Thriller 'Candy Store.  
  11. ^ Minnie Mortimer. "Minnie Mortimer". Guest of a Guest. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 

External links

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