Open main menu

Carl Gottlieb (born March 18, 1938) is an American screenwriter, actor, comedian and executive. He is probably best known for co-writing the screenplay for Jaws and its first two sequels, as well as directing the 1981 film Caveman.

Carl Gottlieb
Gottlieb in 2009
Gottlieb in 2009
Born (1938-03-18) March 18, 1938 (age 81)
New York City, New York, United States
OccupationActor, comedian, screenwriter
GenreComedy, thriller
Notable worksJaws


Early lifeEdit

Gottlieb was born to a middle class Jewish family[1] in New York City, the son of Elizabeth, a medical administrative assistant, and Sergius M. Gottlieb, an engineer.[2] After studying drama at Syracuse University, he became a member, in the 1960s, of the San Francisco improvisational comedy troupe "The Committee". They made one feature film: A Session with the Committee.


He began writing comedy for TV, contributing to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour for which he won an Emmy Award in 1969, The Music Scene, The Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family, and The Odd Couple. Minor acting roles have included Robert Altman's M*A*S*H and the film Clueless.

Gottlieb also cowrote David Crosby's two autobiographies, 1989's Long Time Gone and 2006's Since Then.


Gottlieb was hired as an actor to appear as Harry Meadows, the editor of the local newspaper, in Jaws. He was hired by his friend, Steven Spielberg, to redraft the script, adding more dimensions to the characters, particularly humour. His redrafts reduced the role of Meadows (who still appears in the Town Hall corridor and the Tiger Shark scene).

He wrote a book, The Jaws Log, about the notoriously difficult production of the film.[3] Bryan Singer has referred to it as being "like a little movie director bible".[4]

He was enlisted under similar circumstances to work on the Jaws 2 screenplay. He co-wrote the screenplays for The Jerk, in which he played Iron Balls McGinty, and Jaws 3-D. Gottlieb contributes to Jaws related activities, such as interviews (including the documentary The Shark Is Still Working) and attended JawsFest on Martha's Vineyard in June 2005.

Writers' politicsEdit

He joined the Writers Guild of America in 1968 after becoming interested in Guild politics and with a desire to serve fellow writers following writers' strikes in the 1970s and 1981. He ran for the Board of Directors in 1983, and was re-elected for numerous terms thereafter, including two stints as vice-president (1991–1994). He was again appointed VP of the Writers Guild of America, West in 2004[5] and served until the following year.[6] In September 2011, he was elected as WGA-West Secretary-Treasurer.[7]

Filmography (as actor)Edit

Year Title Role Notes
1968 Maryjane Larry Kane
1970 MASH 'Ugly John'
1972 Up the Sandbox Vinnie
1973 The Long Goodbye Wade Party Guest Uncredited
1975 Jaws Ben Meadows
1976 Cannonball Terry McMillan
1979 The Jerk Iron Balls McGinty
1983 The Sting II Maitre D'
1984 Johnny Dangerously Dr. Magnus
1985 Into the Night Federal Agent
1995 Clueless Priest
2017 Decker Himself TV series, 1 episode


  1. ^ Gans, Herbert j. (1999). Making Sense of America: Sociological Analyses and Essays. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 326. ISBN 978-0847690411.
  2. ^ Carl Gottlieb Biography (1938-)
  3. ^ Valcourt, Keith (28 July 2016). "'Jaws' screenwriter Gottlieb says classic film still has its bite". Washington Times. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  4. ^ Singer, Bryan. "Reviews". The Jaws Log. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  5. ^ Scott, Gabriel (23 March 2004). "Writers Guild of America, west Appoints Carl Gottlieb New Vice President". Writers Guild of America News. Archived from the original on 20 September 2005. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  6. ^ Scott, Gabriel (20 September 2005). "2005 WGAw Officer and Board Election Results". Writers Guild of America West. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  7. ^ Mitchell, Gregg (September 16, 2011). "Writers Guild of America, West Announces 2011 Officers and Board 0f Directors Election Results". Writers Guild of America West. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2019.

External linksEdit