Launer was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and brought up in the San Fernando valley. He is Jewish. He attended California State University, Northridge, where, after changing his major to Film, he recognised his desire for a job writing and directing films. His first successful screenplay was Ruthless People (1986).
Launer was friends with the family of murderer Elliot Rodger. At the behest of Rodger's father, Launer attempted to advise Rodger on how to be more confident with women. After Rodger's death, Launer wrote an article for the BBC about his experience.
- "Dale Launer, screenwriter". California State University, Northridge: Department of Cinema and Television Arts. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
- Therese Walsh (1 June 2007). "Interview: Dale Lautner, Part 1". Writer Unboxed. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
- "Tom's NU Heaven]\".
- Dale Launer (9 July 2014). "How I tried to help Elliot Rodger". BBC.
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