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Allan Arkush (born April 30, 1948) is an American director and producer of films, television and videos. He has been a frequent collaborator of Joe Dante.

Allan Arkush
Born (1948-04-30) April 30, 1948 (age 71)
OccupationFilm director, television director, television producer
Years active1970–present



Arkush grew up in Fort Lee, New Jersey.[1] He graduated in 1966 from Fort Lee High School and his experiences there served as the inspiration for Rock 'n' Roll High School. He attended New York University Film School from 1967-70. His senior film- "Septuagenarian Substitute Ball" starring John Ford Noonan, won 3rd prize at the National Student Film Festival-1970. At NYU his teacher and faculty adviser was Martin Scorsese "whose knowledge and passion changed my life". While at NYU he worked at The Fillmore East-1968-71 as an usher, stage crew member and in the psychedelic light show "Joe's Lights"-1970-73, performing with The Who, Grateful Dead, Santana, Allman Bros, Miles Davis, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Virgil Fox, Fleetwood Mac, and many many more in NYC and London.

He returned to NYC in 1973 drove a yellow cab, and then moved to LA on October 4, 1973. He got his start in the industry working (with the assistance of Jon Davison and Jonathan Kaplan) in the trailer department for Roger Corman's New World Pictures.-1974-1979, where he met a frequent collaborator & close friend Joe Dante.They cut trailers and TV spots for movies as diverse as Death Race 2000, Crazy Mama, Fellini's Amarcord, TNT Jackson, Truffaut's Small Change, Eat My Dust and at least 100 more. He later went on to co-direct the Corman-produced films Hollywood Boulevard, Deathsport, 2nd-Unit on Grand Theft Auto for Ron Howard, and finally he got to direct his dream movie- Rock 'n' Roll High School ,starring The Ramones[2] At that point as Roger Corman wisely put it "If you do a good job you never have to work for me again", which is exactly what happened.

Feature films that followed include the dud, "Heartbeeps" & the cult favorite "Get Crazy" and the not so funny "CaddyShack 2". Rock Videos for Dokken, Elvis Costello, Christine McVie and Bette Midler/Mick Jagger earned 5 MTV Nominations.

Next Series Television proved to be his metier with Fame (featuring Debbie Allen) being his first show, and St. Elsewhere being his first Network show (with Bruce Paltrow). He directed a quarter of all the episodes of Moonlighting and received an Emmy Nomination for "I Am Curious Maddie"- the series' highest rated episode. He has directed 15 TV pilots and sold 10, the most successful being Crossing Jordan (Director/Executive Producer) which went on to 117 episodes. He has directed 250 TV episodes and produced another 200.

His TV work includes, The Temptations for which he won an Emmy Award and DGA nomination, Ally McBeal (the Dancing Baby Episode) another Emmy nomination, Shake, Rattle and Rock! (the prequel to Rock n Roll High School), and Elvis Meets Nixon. "Young at Heart" with Olympia Dukakis and Frank Sinatra, making Mr. Arkush the only director in Film History to Direct Frank Sinatra & Joey Ramone. He was the Director/Executive Producer of the TV series "Heroes." He directed 11 episodes, including "Second Coming" which won the Emmy for best Special Effects.

Other highlights are Nashville & Hellcats on which he directed & exec. produced the pilot & series. His most recent work is "A Series Of Unfortunate Events"- "The Hostile Hospital" episodes which earned him a DGA Nomination and Another Life, both for Netflix.

Arkush also contributes commentary to the web series Trailers From Hell, which is a hobby that he loves.His lifelong preoccupations has been food & cooking, as well as a Record Collection in Vinyl, and CD numbering at least 10,000

He is a member of the DGA Mentor Program, and teaches the Narrative Workshop at The AFI.

He has been married for 38 years to Joanne Palace Arkush and has 2 daughters Allison(sculpture & Ceramicist) and Jacqueline (Wood Worker/Sculptor).




  1. ^ Coutros, Evonne. "HOBOKEN STORY, MADE IN TORONTO", The Record (Bergen County), March 12, 1995. Accessed June 30, 2010.
  2. ^ Allan Arkush Biography (1948-), Film Reference
  3. ^ "Arkush's work on SALEM". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-09.

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