Paul Albert Attanasio (born November 14, 1959) is an American screenwriter and film and television producer, who was an executive producer on the television series House (2004–2012). He received Academy Award nominations for Quiz Show (1994) and Donnie Brasco (1997) screenplays.
Paul Attanasio was born in The Bronx, New York City, the son of Connie, a real estate broker, and Joseph Attanasio, a commercial consultant. He grew up in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, and later in Tenafly, New Jersey, where he attended public high school. He is a 1981 graduate of Harvard College, where he lived in Currier House, and earned his law degree at Harvard Law School in 1984.
Attanasio was a film critic for The Washington Post from 1984 to 1987. He started writing for television with the CBS sitcom Doctor Doctor and the NBC crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street, for which he holds a 'Created by' credit.
In 1995 he won a BAFTA for his screenplay adaptation for the drama Quiz Show. He later wrote the screenplays for the thriller Disclosure, the gangster movie Donnie Brasco, the science fiction film Sphere, and the political thriller The Sum of All Fears. In 2000 he returned to television and started executive producing, in addition to writing, the medical drama Gideon's Crossing and the pilot for R.U.S.H. Along with David Shore, he is one of the creators of the TV series House, of which he was executive producer. In 2006 he wrote the screenplay for the dramatic film The Good German. In 2017, it was confirmed that Attanasio will be the writer and executive producer on the new Amazon Video series Tong Wars. He is a co-creator of the series Bull (2016 TV series). He is the writer/producer of the 2020 CBS police drama Tommy.
Formerly married to Katie Jacobs, he is now married to Amanda Benefiel, an artist, and has three children, Annabelle, John, and Grace. He is the brother of Mark Attanasio, a Los Angeles investment manager who is the principal owner of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Attanasio's son John, aged 16 at the time, drove a Chevrolet Camaro his father bought for him on his 16th birthday, and was filmed in a road rage incident where he shouted homophobic abusive slurs at the other driver and claiming that his own vehicle was "a million dollar car". John's car was worth less than $60,000.
Attanasio was featured in The Dialogue interview series. In a 90-minute interview with producer Mike DeLuca, he describes how he went from lambasting movies as a "snotty" Washington Post film critic to developing rewarding creative partnerships with Oscar-winning directors Robert Redford, Barry Levinson, and Steven Soderbergh.
- Quiz Show (1994)
- Disclosure (1994)
- Donnie Brasco (1997)
- Sphere (1998)
- The Sum of All Fears (2002)
- The Good German (2006)
- Paul Attanasio, filmreference.com, retrieved September 4, 2013.
- Bernard Weinraub, "Flawed Characters In the Public Eye, Past and Present", The New York Times, September 12, 1994, retrieved September 4, 2013: "Mr. Attanasio grew up in the Bronx, in Pelham Bay, and his family later moved to Tenafly, N.J. (His father, Joseph, a businessman, had speaking parts in "Quiz Show" and "Disclosure.") After graduating from Harvard in 1981, and then Harvard Law School in 1984, he was hired at the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore."
- Meredith Berkman, "The Pagemaster", Entertainment Weekly, December 16, 1994, retrieved September 7, 2013.
- Harriet Winslow, The Washington Post, "'Homicide' defies odds, marks 100th episode", The Post and Courier, April 30, 1998, p. 34, retrieved September 7, 2013.
- Film: Adapted Screenplay, BAFTA Awards, retrieved December 22, 2014.
- "Amazon Orders Fred Armisen-Maya Rudolph Come Wong Kar-wai Drama, 3 Other Projects (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. September 8, 2017.
- Tyler Kepner, "Owner Goes All In on the Brewers", The New York Times, September 30, 2011, retrieved September 4, 2013.