Born in Los Angeles 10/25/55, Gale Anne Hurd, the daughter of a wealthy Los Angeles businessman, grew up in Palm Springs. During junior high, she'd read up to 14 books a week - all from the fantasy, sci-fi, action sections of the library. "I love roller coaster rides," she says, and action movies are "the more sedate equivalent to a roller coaster ride."
Hurd double majored in economics and communications at Stanford University. She became interested in film while studying at Stanford's campus in London. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1977 and went to work as an assistant to Roger Corman. She quickly became director of advertising.
Then she realized she wanted to get into producing. In 1988 Hurd told journalist J.D. McCulley: "I went from director of advertising to production assistant. I learned a lot about making coffee and emptying chemical toilets in motor home. It's great to learn in the trenches. And with Roger you didn't stay in the trenches very long."
Hurd formed her own production company, Pacific Western Productions, in 1982. She produced such box-office hits including The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), and The Abyss (1989). All were directed by James Cameron, her husband from 1985-89.
Cameron sold the film rights to his script The Terminator to his future wife Hurd in 1984 on the condition that he be allowed to direct.
On one of their first dates, Hurd and Cameron visited a rifle range to shoot machine guns.
After the success of Aliens, Cameron told the 8/11/86 People: ''We have a rule. I don't make any deals for her and she doesn't argue on the set with me in front of the crew. That's the strength of the partnership. You can't drive a wedge between us. People try, but they can't.''
Cameron and Hurd married in Maui in March 1985. ''We're obsessive workaholics,'' Gale told the 8/11/86 People. ''We don't do drugs and we don' t drink. We're not the kind of people you want to invite to a party.' '
As his marriage to Hurd was ending, director James Cameron made The Abyss, released it 1991. This story about human beings first meeting aliens featured the demise of a marriage.
Hurd married director Brian DePalma around 1993. They had a child they named Lolita. Then they divorced. Then Hurd married Johnathan Hensleigh.
Hurd attempted to tone down the violence in No Escape. She showed a bad guy dying off-screen. "I was pleased. I had heard audiences were fed up with graphic violence." Then test marketing showed "95% said the bad guy didn't die a graphic enough death." Now viewers get to see him impaled. "It's depressing," Hurd says. "I would have been perfectly happy to have the milder version. But it's impossible once you have research figures." (USA Today, 4/29/94)
Hurd's movies usually feature strong female characters. ''In a sense, you're the godmother,'' she says. ''You have to be the cheerleader, the den mother, the person the cast and crew come to when they're upset. As women, we are collaborators, problem solvers. We tend to be interested in solutions, not blame. The worst scenario is for a crew to think they have to hide problems because they're afraid of what will happen to them if you find out. I don't have that problem. People come to me early.
''You honestly believe, after you live here long enough and buy into the Hollywood power elite, that your self-worth is measured by your box office potential,'' she says. ''That's why I try to get away as often as possible.'' Still, she admits, ''I go to the requisite number of parties, so that people don't think I've fallen off the face of the earth.'' (People, 3/27/91)
About an effort to give director Eli Kazan an honorary Oscar, Hurd reportedly said: "I don't care about the films he directed. He named names, and we just can't honor someone who did that." (The New Republic, 4/5/99)
About producer credit inflation, Hurd told the 5/29/01 NY Times: "The problem is, it's the only credit on a film where you don't really have to have contributed anything or performed any specific function in order to receive it. That has developed because the studios perceive that it saves them money. They negotiate producing credit in lieu of more financial compensation."
Todd Jones writes on alt.video.dvd: "The perfect example of why the Producer is NOT a creative force: Gale Anne Hurd. She was the Producer of The Terminator, Aliens, and The Abyss. Wow, sounds impressive, right? Wrong, she was JUST the Producer. After she had a falling out with James Cameron, the director of the Terminator, Aliens, and Abyss, Cameron went on to direct T2: Judgment Day, True Lies, and Titanic. Gale Anne Hurd went on to produce such classics of modern cinema as Switchback and The Relic. Watch any making-of documentary or listen to any commentary track with a Producer on it to realize that Producers are just shmoozing phone jockeys who don't have an ounce of talent in them, except maybe for finding money. A recent favorite is the Lost Moon documentary, in which Producer Brian Grazer basically says that he didn't [know] that there was an Apollo program, and says, "I don't read much. I'm very intuitive.""
Gale Ann Hurd did not answer repeated requests for an interview. Producers I've spoken to don't take her seriously, attributing most of her success to her past marriage to Jim Cameron.
Hurd told THR 2/28/02: "In the old days, producers used to be buffers between the studios, the bankers and these kind of creative (people). Producers brought a real service and value to the studio because they were mediators; they were the reasonable ones in the middle. Now it seems like some of them are enablers to directors."