Jonathan Michael Avnet (born November 17, 1949), is an American director, writer and producer.

Jon Avnet
Jon Avnet.jpg
Jon Avnet presenting Art Directors Guild award in 2014
Jonathan Michael Avnet

(1949-11-17) November 17, 1949 (age 73)
Brooklyn, New York City
EducationAFI Conservatory
Alma materSarah Lawrence College
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, film producer
Known forco-founder of Avnet–Kerner Productions
SpouseBarbara Brody
FamilyCharles Avnet (grandfather)

Early life and educationEdit

Avnet was born in Brooklyn, the son of Joan Bertha (née Grossman) and Lester Francis Avnet, a corporate executive with Avnet (a Global distributor of IT & electronics)[1][2][3] founded by his grandfather, Charles Avnet. He has two siblings, Carole Avnet Rocherolle and Rosalind Avnet Lazarus.[2] He attended Great Neck North High School in Great Neck, New York.[4] He earned a B.A. degree in film and theater arts from Sarah Lawrence College in 1971.[5] He is Jewish.[6]


Before that Jon Avent partnered with Steve Tisch on his production company, before teaming up with McNeil/Allyn Films on motion pictures and television movies.[7]

Avnet directed his first movie, Fried Green Tomatoes, in 1991, followed by The War in 1994, with Elijah Wood in the lead and Kevin Costner in a supporting role as his father. He directed Up Close & Personal in 1996, which was loosely based on the life of Jessica Savitch. It was written by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne and starred Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Avnet addressed political issues with his fourth film Red Corner in 1997, a movie about the Chinese legal system, starring Richard Gere and Bai Ling. Because of Gere's presence and support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama, they could not film in China, and the settings had to be recreated in Southern California. Avnet, however, did film a few scenes in Beijing and also put in some footage of actual Chinese executions.[5] Avnet was also the executive producer of the 2010 movie Black Swan.[8] His production company is Brooklyn Films.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Avnet has been married to the artist Barbara Brody since 1975.[10] They have three children, Alexandra Avnet Costantino, Jacob Avnet, and Lily Avnet.[11][12]



Year Film Director Producer Notes
1983 Risky Business No Yes
1987 Less than Zero No Yes
1991 Fried Green Tomatoes Yes Yes Directorial debut
1994 The War Yes Yes
1996 Up Close & Personal Yes Yes
1997 Red Corner Yes Yes
2004 Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow No Yes
2007 88 Minutes Yes Yes
2008 Righteous Kill Yes No
2017 Three Christs Yes Yes also writer[13]
2020 Four Good Days No Yes



  1. ^ "Jon Avnet Biography (1949-)".
  2. ^ a b Reif, Rita (January 15, 1994). "Joan Avnet, Dealer, Collector and Donor Of Art, Is Dead at 80". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "L.F. Avnet Dead; Industrialist, 57". The New York Times . January 4, 1970.
  4. ^ Famous Great Neck Alumni from the 1960s Archived May 28, 2017, at, Great Neck School District. Accessed July 21, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "Jon Avnet: Biography". Yahooo Entertainment. Archived from the original on April 10, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  6. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (November 4, 2001). "Television/Radio; A Seldom-Seen Holocaust Image: The Resister". The New York Times. Have you ever seen the story of the resistance? Have you ever seen a Jew pick up a gun and kill a German in the Holocaust? asked Mr. Avnet, 51, who is Jewish.
  7. ^ "McNeil/Allyn Films, Avnet Teaming On Pic, Telefilm". Variety. July 2, 1986. p. 21.
  8. ^ "Jon Avnet Filmography".
  9. ^ Lyons, Charles (April 7, 2002). "Avnet, Kerner split". Variety. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  10. ^ "Barbara Brody Avnet".
  11. ^ "Avnet, Jon 1949–". Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  12. ^ "Alexandra Avnet, Thomas Costantino". The New York Times. May 15, 2010. Alexandra Lester Avnet, a daughter of Barbara Brody Avnet and Jon Avnet of Topanga, Calif., was married at her parents’ home Saturday evening to Thomas John Costantino, the son of Carole Costantino and Salvatore Costantino of Grassmere, Staten Island. Rabbi David Baron officiated.
  13. ^ "Three Christs" Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 2017-09-19.

External linksEdit