Born in July 14, 1952 in South Orange, New Jersey, Joel Silver is known for producing action movies like 48 Hours and The Matrix.
Joel's father was a public relations executive. His mother was a writer.
Silver left New York University film school in 1974, moving to Los Angeles. He became one of Universal's youngest production executives. He oversaw the ill-fated Xanadu (1980).
In 1980, he left to produce on his own.
Silver is notorious for his slovenly appearance, bad manners and fierce temper. Richard Donner, who directed all the Lethal Weapons, told the 1/20/95 Entertainment Weekly (EW): "There was this agent giving him a terrible time, and Joel said to him, 'Say "loafer or slipper."' The guy says, 'What are you talking about?' and Joel insists, 'Just say it.' The guy says, 'Why?' Joel says, 'Because in two minutes, you're going to be a shoe salesman.' That's typical Joel."
Sylvester Stallone told EW: "I've seen (his screaming) recede someone's hairline. It's hard for me to be mad at him, and God knows, I work at it. I can't because he's real. He's totally insane, with long, terrible fits of sanity."
EW writes: "It's not that Joel Silver doesn't want to be charming. He just doesn't have time. For one thing, he's too busy pacing. Or fidgeting. Or producing another rock-'em-sock-'em-blow-'em-up movie: There have been 20 in the last 12 years, films like Predator, or the Lethal Weapon trilogy, Die Hards 1 and 2, or-his latest-Demon Knight (see sidebar on p. 29), the first of three planned big- screen spin-offs of the HBO series Tales From the Crypt. Such projects have earned him a reputation-budget breaker, schlockmeister, the personification of Hollywood's excesses. They've also earned the studios with which he's worked more than $1 billion. That figure has given Joel Silver the kind of clout that only reinforces the industry's collective terror that the 42-year-old producer is even more explosive than his movies."
Newsday's Patrick Goldstein writes 8/8/93: "Dubbed the Selznick of Schlock by Premiere magazine, Silver is a throwback to the mercurial studio moguls of Old Hollywood, full of bluster, manipulative zeal and a love for movies - good ones, obscure ones, even awful ones. Sometimes loud and abrasive, sometimes engaging and even disarming, Silver is always refreshingly blunt. When a reporter first arrives on his set, Silver immediately gets down to business. "You're not going to [expletive] me again, are you?" he says, recalling a past journalistic slight. "You don't like my movies, and I don't like you. So we'll get along fine." Silver doesn't get along fine with many top studio executives, who often complain (though always off the record) about his bullying, confrontational style. His mercurial relations with film directors can best be described by their choice of gifts."
In a November 13, 1995 column for Daily Variety, Peter Bart wrote a public memo to ICM agents Jeff Berg and Jim Wiatt about the action-movie genre. "Why not strip away the license from those who have vulgarized the craft? Joel Silver, for example - the man who gave us Assassins, Fair Game, Demolition Man, Predator, and The Last Boy Scout. Silver's been dining out on Lethal Weapon for a long time now, but the bottom line is that his movies have become bogus and gross. Silver should still be allowed to blow away a few of his assistants each year, but keep him off a movie set."
Joel is caricatured in the 1991 movie Grand Canyon, 1993's True Romance and 1994's I'll Do Anything.
In her 1991 book, Julia Phillips wrote: "Joel [Silver] was a fat slob who liked to decorate his table at Mortons with women who looked like medium-priced hookers."
Silver said about Hollywood producers: "It's the real Revenge of the Nerds. Most o fthese guys were short, fat, ugly kids who couldn't get laid in high school. Now they're in control, and they're going to make everyone in the world pay for what the world did to them." (High Concept, pg. 82)
"Melissa Prophet," Ivan Nagy said, was a "house girl" for international financier Adnan Kashoggi, procuring women for him while living in his home, a statement echoed by former Playboy model Cathy St. George, who was friendly with Prophet in the late 1980s, and by film executive Paul Rosenfeld, who knew Prophet through the man she would later marry, longtime Simpson friend Craig Baumgarten. Producer Joel Silver knew Prophet well, too, but was not actually a customer, though Melissa would set him up on dates." (High Concept, pg. 96)
John H. Richardson dedicated his novel The Vipers' Club to Joel Silver, the inspiration for his producer character Max Fischer.
The movie Swimming With Sharks (an assistant's journey with an abusive movie producer) is purportedly based on Joel Silver.
Silver married his longtime producing assistant Karyn Fields July 10, 1999.
Cathy Seipp writes in the 7/3/97 Salon.com: ""Who's that poor girl?" asked a visitor to a Joel Silver set, having just witnessed the producer of the "Die Hard" and "Lethal Weapon" series scream at a young woman to get up and wipe off his chair, which was damp. "Oh," came the answer, "that's the associate producer.""
Sources: Rebecca Ascher-Walsh: Entertainment Weekly, 01-20-1995, pp 26.