Lawrence Bender was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1958.
While studying for his degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Maine, Bender began attending dance lessons and eventually toured the northeast with the Ralph Robertson Ballet Company. He moved to New York City and won a scholarship to "Fame" choreographer Louis Falco's dance academy. After sustaining a dance injury, he moved into acting. He studied with coach Sandra Seacat alongside such actors as Jessica Lange, Mickey Rourke, Marlo Thomas and Christopher Reeve.
Bender came to Hollywood in 1985. He worked as an actor and crew member on student projects at the American Film Institute. He became a grip on low budget films. His first producing credits were on the direct-to-video horror tale "The Intruder" and the drama "A Tale of Two Sisters" (both 1989).
A mutual friend introduced Bender to Tarantino. They worked together on 1992's Reservoir Dogs. It launched the careers of Tarantino and Bender.
In 1994, Bedner produced Boaz Yakin's critically lauded "Fresh", about a ghetto kid, Roger Avary's "Killing Zoe" about a Paris bank heist, and Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction." Pulp Fiction revived the acting career of John Travolta and did boffo box office.
Bender produced the Oscar-nominated Best Picture "Good Will Hunting" (1997), written by co-stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
Producer Lawrence Bender is part of Hollywood's left-wing Creative Coalition.
In her book Killer Instinct, Jane Hamsher recalled meeting Bender for the first time. He gave her the creeps. "It had something to do with the color of his skin and the way his gaze sort of receded into some emotional abyss when he smiled or maybe it was the way his lips curled over his teeth when he spoke...a jackal." (pg. 58)
Hamsher writes that producers like Bender, who owe their career to their attachment to one star director (Tarantino), tend to be sneaky and protective.
Don Murphy says about Bender: "That f---ing former ballerina is probably winding him [Tarantino] up every day, whispering in Quentin's ear that Jane and Don are juju, so he can be the only barnacle attached to Quentin's ass." (pg. 68)
Jane says: "My friend Vicky was doing publicity for Reservoir Dogs up at Sundance, and she said that when even Quentin did an interview, Lawrence threw a tantrum if he wasn't interviewed, too. It made her life hell because nobody wants to talk to the producer."
Don: "Roger Avary said he was like that on the set. Running around like he owned the place, telling the grips where to set up the C-stands and stff. They used to get rid of him by making him go order the takeout food." (pg. 94)