John Lesher
Born (1966-05-12) May 12, 1966 (age 57)
OccupationFilm producer
Years active2012–present
SpouseChristina Liao

John Lesher (born May 12, 1966) is an American film producer, best known for winning the Academy Award for Best Picture for the 2014 film Birdman.[1][2]

Life and career

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John Lesher was born on May 12, 1966, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard University in 1988 before starting his career as an agent at the Bauer-Benedek Agency.

Later, Lesher moved to the United Talent Agency (UTA), where he became a partner. After 15 years at UTA, Lesher left for Endeavor, where his clients included Martin Scorsese, Paul Thomas Anderson, Alejandro Iñárritu, and Judd Apatow. In 2005, he was made head of Paramount Vantage, a brand derived from Paramount Classics that produced and distributed arthouse-oriented titles. The company produced such Oscar-winning pictures as Inarritu's Babel (2006), the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men (2007), and Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood (2007). The success of these films led to Lesher's appointment in 2008 as President of Paramount Pictures, where he oversaw several major features, including J.J. Abrams' reboot of the Star Trek (2008) franchise and David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). "Star Trek" was his only blockbuster. Other titles released by Paramount during his tenure, like Iron Man (2008), were distribution titles made at other companies, while other projects, like the Mike Myers comedy Love Guru (2008) and Imagine That (2009) were failures. Lesher was dismissed as Paramount president in the summer of 2009. He formed his own production company, Le Grisbi, which released several box office hits between 2012 and 2014.

Among their most popular efforts was Birdman, which was directed by Inarritu and earned Lesher an Oscar for Best Picture in 2015.[3][failed verification][4]

Lesher, along with other producers won the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for outstanding producer of theatrical motion pictures at the 26th annual Producers Guild Awards.[5]


Year Title Notes
2012 End of Watch
2013 Blood Ties
2014 Fury
2014 Birdman Won Academy Award for Best Picture[6]
2015 Mississippi Grind
2015 Mediterranea
2015 Black Mass
2017 Hostiles
2018 White Boy Rick
2019 The Beach Bum
2021 Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon
2022 Tokyo Vice TV series
TBA This is Jane
2022 The Pale Blue Eye


  1. ^ Strauss, Jordan (February 23, 2015). "James W. Skotchdopole, Sean Penn, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, John Lesher". Havasu News. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  2. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (4 July 2022). "Global Indie Producers Voice Concerns Of IP Retention When Working With Streamers — KVIFF Industry Panel". Deadline.
  3. ^ "Studio System - John Lesher".
  4. ^ Dooley, Ben (2 January 2020). "Carlos Ghosn Flirted With Hollywood, Then Delivered a Plot Twist". The New York Times.
  5. ^ T. H. R. Staff (24 January 2015). "PGA Awards: 'Birdman' Wins Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (18 May 2022). "Julianne Moore & Sandra Oh Set For Lynne Ramsay's 'Stone Mattress'; Margaret Atwood Thriller Adaptation From Amazon, Studiocanal, John Lesher, JoAnne Sellar & Film4 — Cannes Market Hot Package". Deadline.