Known for movies

Short Info

SpouseJanelle Webb, Cynthia Costas
MarkA scene shot at his house in Beverly Hills
FactFather, with Janelle Webb, of Jill Gatsby and Melissa Inger.
PaymentsEarned $750,000 from Cellular (2004)

Larry Cohen (born July 15, 1941) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in the horror and exploitation genres, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s.

Cohen was born in New York City, the son of a Jewish family. His father was a businessman and his mother was a homemaker. He has two sisters. Cohen’s early education took place at the Yeshiva of Flatbush. He later attended the High School of Music & Art, where he developed an interest in film.

Cohen began his career in the entertainment industry as a television writer, penning episodes of such shows as The Defenders, The Fugitive, and The Invaders. He made his directorial debut with the 1968 film Bone, which starred Yaphet Kotto. Cohen would go on to direct a number of exploitation films throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including Black Caesar (1973), It’s Alive (1974), and The Stuff (1985). He also wrote and directed the 1984 film The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover.

In recent years, Cohen has directed episodes of such television shows as NYPD Blue and The Guardian. He has also been active as a producer, working on such films as Phone Booth (2002) and Cellular (2004).

Cohen’s net worth is estimated to be $10 million. He has been married three times and has four children.

General Info

Full NameLarry Cohen
ProfessionFilm director, Film producer, Screenwriter, Television Director, Television producer
EducationCity College of New York


SpouseJanelle Webb, Cynthia Costas
ChildrenJill Gatsby, Melissa Cohen, Bobby Cohen, Louis Cohen, Pam Cohen
SiblingsRonni Chasen


NominationsEdgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Comedy
MoviesIt's Alive, The Stuff, Q, God Told Me To, Phone Booth, Black Caesar, Maniac Cop, A Return to Salem's Lot, The Ambulance, It Lives Again, Hell Up in Harlem, Cellular, The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, It's Alive III: Island of the Alive, Maniac Cop 2, Original Gangstas, Wicked Stepmother, Special...
TV ShowsCool Million, The Good Life, The Invaders, Coronet Blue, Blue Light, Branded

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1A scene shot at his house in Beverly Hills


Cellular (2004)$750,000


1Some kids were great playing baseball; other kids were great at playing the piano; some kids were terrific at math. Writing was just something that came naturally.
2[on how he came up with the idea of the aliens' signature extended pinky finger on his series The Invaders (1967)] The extended pinky used to be a symbol of effeminacy . . . you know, the effete [person] holding a glass of champagne with the pinky extended? When this show was done back in the '60s, the homosexual community was kind of a submerged, invisible community. People were living secret lives. I thought, here are these aliens living amongst society, keeping their true identities secret, their true selves secret, and this is funny because the pinky kind of symbolizes homosexuality in some way, and nobody will get the gag, but I'll put it in there anyway.
3Sometimes the scenes that really make a movie work are the little scenes that have nothing to do with advancing the action, but just add a little something.
4Life has been good to me. I keep making pictures. Every year I make something. As long as I keep working, I have nothing to complain about. And the films I've made have all had some point to them. Otherwise, I wouldn't have felt they were worth doing. You have to have some direction in which you're headed and a destination which you have to arrive at by the end of the film, so that you feel it was a satisfactory trip. Some kind of personal statement has to be made.


1Lives in a house in Coldwater Canyon, a secluded area north of Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. The house was built by William Randolph Hearst in 1929. [February 2004]
2Older brother of publicist Ronni Chasen.
3Not often allowed to run the TV series that he created. He was removed from creative control of Branded (1965) after one year and was never involved with The Invaders (1967) once he had turned over his outline for the first year.
4Has said that if he had been allowed to run The Invaders (1967), he would have given David Vincent 1) more of a sense of humor, 2) fewer aliens to fight and made them harder to kill, and 3) more of an on-going team of "Believers" in the second year to help him fight the aliens.
5Drew comics and made 8mm movies with his friends as a kid.
6Sold two teleplays to Kraft Mystery Theater (1959) when he was only 22 years old.
7Worked as a page at NBC.
8Was the creator of the 1967 TV series Coronet Blue (1967), which was an offshoot of his work on the TV series The Defenders (1961). Cohen wrote in his autobiography, "The Radical Allegories of an Independent Filmmaker," why the mystery behind the short-lived series' title/catch-phrase was never solved, and what it actually meant. "When the Brodkin Organization took over the series, they wanted to turn it into an they played down the amnesia aspect until there was nothing about it at all in the show. It was just Frank Converse wandering from one story to the next with no connective format at all. Anyway, the show ended after seventeen weeks and nobody found out what 'coronet blue' meant. The actual secret is that Converse was not really an American at all. He was a Russian who had been trained to appear like an American and was sent to the US as a spy. He belonged to a spy unit called Coronet Blue. He decided to defect, so the Russians tried to kill him before he could give away the identities of the other Soviet agents. And nobody can really identify him because he doesn't exist as an American. Coronet Blue was actually an outgrowth of the episode called 'The Traitor' of 'The Defenders.'"
9Father, with Janelle Webb, of Jill Gatsby and Melissa Inger.
10Does not use a computer or typewriter to write. Dictates his scripts into a hand-held tape recorder.
11His wife, Cynthia Costas Cohen, is a psychotherapist and sculptor.
12His younger sister, Ronni Chasen, is a well-known Hollywood publicist.
13Sold the spec script thriller Captivity (2007). This is his fifth spec script thriller in the last five years. Phone Booth (2002) was sold in December 1998 in the mid-six figures. "Cast of Characters" for $350,000 and Cellular (2004) for $750,000 were both sold in 1999. "Man Alive" was sold in August 2002 for a mid-six-figure amount. [June 2003]
14Directed Hell Up in Harlem (1973) and It's Alive (1974) simultaneously, working on "It's Alive!" from Monday to Friday and "Hell Up in Harlem" at the weekends.
15Fred Williamson was shooting That Man Bolt (1973) in Los Angeles at the same time as Hell Up in Harlem (1973) which was in production in New York, so a double was used for most of the Tommy Gibbs character's New York close-ups. According to Cohen, Williamson did not like the double's physical appearance, remarking that "his butt was too big."
16Educated at the City College of New York and New York University.



Blade Rider, Revenge of the Indian Nations1966
I Deal in Danger1966
The Rat Patrol1966TV Series written by - 1 episode
Return of the Magnificent Seven1966written by
Blue LightTV Series creator - 17 episodes, 1966 writer - 7 episodes, 1966 story - 3 episodes, 1966
BrandedTV Series creator - 48 episodes, 1965 - 1966 story - 7 episodes, 1965 teleplay - 3 episodes, 1965
Kraft Suspense TheatreTV Series story - 1 episode, 1965 teleplay - 1 episode, 1965
The Defenders1963-1965TV Series written by - 9 episodes
The FugitiveTV Series story - 1 episode, 1965 written by - 1 episode, 1964
Espionage1964TV Series writer - 1 episode
The Doctors and the Nurses1963TV Series writer - 3 episodes
Arrest and Trial1963TV Series writer - 1 episode
Sam Benedict1963TV Series writer - 1 episode
Checkmate1961TV Series written by - 1 episode
Surfside 61961TV Series story - 1 episode
The United States Steel Hour1961TV Series writer - 1 episode
'Way Out1961TV Series writer - 1 episode
The Witness1961TV Series written by - 1 episode
Zane Grey Theater1960TV Series writer - 1 episode
Kraft TheatreTV Series written by - 1 episode, 1958 adaptation - 1 episode, 1958
Messages Deleted2010written by
The Gambler, the Girl and the Gunslinger2009TV Movie written by
It's Alive20081974 screenplay / screenplay
Maniac Cop2008Short based on characters created by
Bo chi tung wah2008original story
Captivity2007screenplay / story
Phone Booth2002written by
The Defenders: Choice of Evils1998TV Movie story / teleplay
The Ex1997screenplay
Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Heatwave1997TV Movie teleplay
Invasion of Privacy1996written by
Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Ice1996TV Movie teleplay
Uncle Sam1996Video written by
The Invaders1995TV Series television series - 2 episodes
As Good as Dead1995TV Movie written by
The Expert1995uncredited
NYPD Blue1995TV Series written by - 1 episode
Guilty as Sin1993written by
Body Snatchers1993screen story
Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence1993characters / written by
Maniac Cop 21990characters - uncredited / written by
The Ambulance1990written by
Wicked Stepmother1989written by
Desperado: Avalanche at Devil's Ridge1988TV Movie
Maniac Cop1988written by
Deadly Illusion1987
Best Seller1987written by
A Return to Salem's Lot1987screenplay / story
It's Alive III: Island of the Alive1987based on characters created by / written by
The Stuff1985written by
Special Effects1984written by
Perfect Strangers1984
Women of San Quentin1983TV Movie story
I, the Jury1982screenplay
Full Moon High1981written by
See China and Die1981TV Movie
The American Success Company1980screenplay / story
Sparrow1978TV Movie creator
It Lives Again1978based on characters created for the screen by / written by
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover1977written by
Calling Doctor Storm, M. D.1977TV Movie
God Told Me To1976original screenplay
Man on the Outside1975TV Movie writer
Posse1975treatment - uncredited
Columbo1973-1974TV Series story by - 3 episodes
It's Alive1974written by
Shootout in a One-Dog Town1974TV Movie story
Hell Up in Harlem1973written by
Griff1973TV Series creator
Black Caesar1973written by
Cool MillionTV Series created by - 1 episode, 1972 writer - 1 episode, 1972
Call Holme1972TV Movie creator
In Broad Daylight1971TV Movie
El Condor1970screenplay
Scream Baby Scream1969screenplay - as Laurence Robert Cohen / story - as Laurence Robert Cohen
Daddy's Gone A-Hunting1969screenplay / story
The Legend of Custer1968suggested by
The Invaders1967-1968TV Series creator - 43 episodes
Coronet Blue1967TV Series creator - 13 episodes
CusterTV Series series suggested - 14 episodes, 1967 series suggested by - 3 episodes, 1967


Masters of Horror2006TV Series 1 episode
Original Gangstas1996
As Good as Dead1995TV Movie
The Ambulance1990
Wicked Stepmother1989
Deadly Illusion1987
A Return to Salem's Lot1987
It's Alive III: Island of the Alive1987
The Stuff1985
Special Effects1984
Perfect Strangers1984
Full Moon High1981
See China and Die1981TV Movie
It Lives Again1978
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover1977
God Told Me To1976
It's Alive1974
Hell Up in Harlem1973
Black Caesar1973


As Good as Dead1995TV Movie producer
Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence1993co-producer
Maniac Cop 21990producer
Wicked Stepmother1989executive producer
Maniac Cop1988producer
A Return to Salem's Lot1987executive producer
It's Alive III: Island of the Alive1987executive producer
The Stuff1985executive producer
Full Moon High1981producer
See China and Die1981TV Movie producer
It Lives Again1978producer
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover1977producer
God Told Me To1976producer
It's Alive1974producer
Hell Up in Harlem1973producer
Black Caesar1973producer
Never Too Young1965TV Series executive producer
Branded1965TV Series producer


Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore1974production executive
Blue LightTV Series executive script consultant - 17 episodes, 1966 executive story consultant - 1 episode, 1966


Spies Like Us1985Ace Tomato Agent


Syndicate Smasher2017special thanks post-production
Dorfman in Love2011thanks
The Scared of Death Society2010special thanks
Eating Out2004/Ispecial thanks


King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry CohenDocumentary post-productionHimself
Unsung Hollywood2016TV Series documentaryHimself
42nd Street Memories: The Rise and Fall of America's Most Notorious Street2015DocumentaryHimself
Interview with Director Larry Cohen: Confessions of a Low Budget Maverick2014ShortHimself
Dark Dreamers2011TV SeriesHimself
Scripting a New Slasher Super-Villain: Larry Cohen on Matt Cordell2011Video documentary shortHimself
This Week in Horror2011TV SeriesHimself - Guest
God Told Me to Bone: An Evening with Larry Cohen2010Video documentary shortHimself
More Tales from the Script2010Video documentaryHimself
American Grindhouse2010DocumentaryHimself - Director, Black Caeser
Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film2009DocumentaryHimself
Tales from the Script2009DocumentaryHimself
Trailers from Hell2007TV SeriesHimself
The Maltese Falcon: One Magnificent Bird2006Video documentary shortHimself
Stool Pigeons and Pine Overcoats: The Language of Gangster Films2006Video documentary short
Welcome to the Big House2006Video documentary short
Hitchcocked!2006TV Movie documentaryHimself
Molls and Dolls: The Women of Gangster Films2006Video documentary shortHimself
Shooting the Police: Cops on Film2006TV Movie documentaryHimself
Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That2005TV Movie documentaryHimself - interviewee
Make Your Own Damn Movie!2005Video documentaryHimself
Dialing Up 'Cellular'2004Video documentary shortHimself
Macked, Hammered, Slaughtered and Shafted2004DocumentaryHimself
Celling Out2004Video documentary shortHimself
The 100 Scariest Movie Moments2004TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Baadasssss Cinema2002TV Movie documentaryHimself
Les deniers du culte1997TV Movie documentaryHimself
Fantasy Film Festival1979TV SeriesHimself


Won Awards

1988George Pal Memorial AwardAcademy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
1977Special Jury AwardAvoriaz Fantastic Film FestivalGod Told Me To (1976)
1975Special Jury AwardAvoriaz Fantastic Film FestivalIt's Alive (1974)

Nominated Awards

1988EdgarEdgar Allan Poe AwardsBest Motion PictureBest Seller (1987)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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