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Robert Harling

Robert Harling

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Also Known As: Bob Harling Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Dothan, Alabama, USA Profession: screenwriter, director, playwright, singer, actor, voice actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A Southerner, Harling moved to New York to pursue a theatrical career after first obtaining a law degree. He landed work in regional theater and as a voice-over artist for radio and TV commercials before turning to writing. When his sister Susan died of complications from diabetes, he was inspired to write his first play, "Steel Magnolias." The effort impressed Kyle Renick at the off-off-Broadway WPA Theater enough to produce it where it received strong notices and transferred to a healthy off-Broadway run. Producer Ray Stark purchased the screen rights and Harling set about adapting the piece. The finished film directed by Herbert Ross (1989) was notable for its cast: Oscar-winners Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis, and, in the role inspired by the author's sister, Julia Roberts who gave a warm and winning performance. Harling himself played a small role in the film as the minister who presides at Roberts' wedding. Harling wrote the hilarious spoof "Soapdish" (1991) which reteamed him with Sally Field, as a soap opera diva whose off-screen life was as outrageous as her onscreen one. He also adapted "The First Wives Club" (1996) and made his directorial debut later that same year with...

A Southerner, Harling moved to New York to pursue a theatrical career after first obtaining a law degree. He landed work in regional theater and as a voice-over artist for radio and TV commercials before turning to writing. When his sister Susan died of complications from diabetes, he was inspired to write his first play, "Steel Magnolias." The effort impressed Kyle Renick at the off-off-Broadway WPA Theater enough to produce it where it received strong notices and transferred to a healthy off-Broadway run. Producer Ray Stark purchased the screen rights and Harling set about adapting the piece. The finished film directed by Herbert Ross (1989) was notable for its cast: Oscar-winners Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis, and, in the role inspired by the author's sister, Julia Roberts who gave a warm and winning performance. Harling himself played a small role in the film as the minister who presides at Roberts' wedding. Harling wrote the hilarious spoof "Soapdish" (1991) which reteamed him with Sally Field, as a soap opera diva whose off-screen life was as outrageous as her onscreen one. He also adapted "The First Wives Club" (1996) and made his directorial debut later that same year with "The Evening Star," based on Larry McMurtry's novel.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Evening Star, The (1996) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Steel Magnolias (1989) Minister
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Milestones close milestones

1987:
Ray Stark purchased screen rights to "Steel Magnolias"
:
Worked his way through law school at Tulane University by singing with a big band, Jubiliation, and acting in local theater
1985:
After death of his sister Susan of complications from diabetes, wrote play "Steel Magnolias"
:
Family moved to Natchitoches, LA when he was 12
1989:
Feature debut as screenwriter, "Steel Magnolias"; character of Shelby (Julia Roberts) was based on his sister
:
Moved to Natchitoches, LA with family in his teens
1996:
Made feature directorial debut with "The Evening Star," sequel to 1983 hit "Terms of Endearment"; also adapted screenplay from Larry McMurtry's novel
1986:
Play produced at WPA Theater off-off-Broadway; moved to Lucille Lortel Theater off-Broadway
1991:
Wrote screenplay of ensemble comedy "Soapdish"
1996:
Penned screenplay of "The First Wives Club," starring Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton, and based on novel by Olivia Goldsmith
2004:
Wrote screenplay of romantic comedy "Laws of Attraction," starring Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore
2012:
Made TV series debut as creator and executive producer of "GCB" (ABC)
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Education

Northwestern State University of Louisiana: Natchitoches, Louisiana -
Tulane University: New Orleans, Louisiana -

Family close complete family listing

sister:
Susan Harling. Died of complications from diabetes; inspiration for character of Shelby in his play "Steel Magnolias".

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