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Debra Hill (November 10, 1950 – March 7, 2005) was an American film producer and screenwriter, best known for producing various works of John Carpenter.

Debra Hill
Born(1950-11-10)November 10, 1950
DiedMarch 7, 2005(2005-03-07) (aged 54)
OccupationFilm producer, screenwriter
Years active1972–2005

She also co-wrote four of his films: Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. They also wrote and produced Halloween II together, which Carpenter did not direct.


Early lifeEdit

Hill was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey and grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] In 1975 she started as a production assistant on adventure documentaries, and progressed through jobs as a script supervisor, assistant director and second unit director. Hill first worked with John Carpenter in 1975, as the script supervisor and assistant editor of Assault on Precinct 13. This led not only to further professional collaborations between Hill and Carpenter, but also marked the beginning of their personal relationship.


In 1978, she and director Carpenter co-wrote the horror movie Halloween. Following its success, Hill and Carpenter worked together on Halloween II (1981) and Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). Their other credits together include: The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981) and its sequel, Escape from L.A. (1996). In 1986, Hill formed an independent production company with her friend Lynda Obst. Together, they produced Adventures in Babysitting, Heartbreak Hotel, and The Fisher King. In 1988, she entered a contract with Walt Disney Pictures under which she produced Gross Anatomy, short films for the Walt Disney theme park, and an NBC special for Disneyland's 35th anniversary. She also produced The Dead Zone (1983), Head Office (1985), and Clue (1985).[2]

She was honored by Women in Film in 2003 with the Crystal Award.[3] She recalled the transition from being called "sweetheart" and "darling" in her early years as a producer to the respectful "ma'am" many years later on the DVD commentary for Escape From New York with production designer Joe Alves.[4]

What is not as well known, is how supportive Debra was with the talent that she worked with. For example, James Cameron, the filmmaker, once worked for Hill as her visual effects guy. Jeffrey Chervon, was Hill's second assistant director. He became a producer of "Black Panther." Hill was not intimidated to help support other talent in the film industry.

Friends and colleagues commented that Hill became frustrated with the film industry in that, the industry did not welcome more women as directors. Even with the lack of support, Hill persisted with her work. [5]


A lifelong smoker, Hill was diagnosed with colon cancer in February 2004. Despite her diagnosis and eventual amputation of her leg, Hill continued to work on several projects. She worked with John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell on a comic adaptation of the Snake Plissken character as well as a proposed Snake Plissken video game.In 2005 Hill died of cancer. Although she reunited with Carpenter to produce the remake of The Fog at the time of her death in 2005, and was working on the Oliver Stone film World Trade Center.

After her death, Carpenter told Associated Press working with Hill was "one of the greatest experiences of my life – she had a passion for not just movies about women or women's ideas but films for everybody".




Miscellaneous crewEdit


  • Monsters (1988) (TV series) (unknown episodes)
  • Dream On (1990) (TV series) (unknown episodes)


  • Halloween (1978) – Young Michael Myers' hands grabbing the knife out of the kitchen drawer and adult Michael Myers standing outside of Lindsey Wallace's house.
  • The Fog (1980) – Extra in benediction scene (uncredited)
  • Escape from New York (1981) – Computer (voice, uncredited) (final film role)


  1. ^ via Associated Press. "Debra Hill, 54, Film Producer Who Helped Create 'Halloween,' Dies", The New York Times, March 8, 2005. Accessed December 18, 2007. "Born in Haddonfield, N.J., Ms. Hill grew up in Philadelphia."
  2. ^ "Women in Horror Month: Debra Hill, the Mother of "HALLOWEEN"".
  3. ^ "OPEN DOORS - The Legacy of Debra Hill Continues To Change The Face Of Hollywood". May 2, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  4. ^ DVD feature length commentary for Escape From New York
  5. ^ Ryzik, Melena (May 27, 2019). "Debra Hill". New York Times.

External linksEdit