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Mark Johnson
Johnson in 2009
Born (1945-12-27) December 27, 1945 (age 78)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Virginia
Occupation(s)Film and television producer
Lezlie Brooks
(m. 1982)

Mark Johnson (born December 27, 1945) is an American film and television producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Picture for producing the 1988 film Rain Man.

Early life

Johnson was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Dorothy (née King), a realtor, and Emery Johnson, who worked in the air cargo business.[1] He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1971.[2]


Johnson first became involved in show business in 1965, as an actor playing the sheriff's deputy in the Spanish "Spaghetti Western" Brandy, directed by Jose Luis Borau. He spent ten years of his youth in Spain, where he worked as a movie extra in films such as Franklin Schaffner's Nicholas and Alexandra and David Lean's Dr. Zhivago. His early experiences led to small acting roles in the European western Ride and Kill and the 1964 drama The Thin Red Line. After earning an undergraduate degree in Drama from the University of Virginia and an MA in Film Scholarship from the University of Iowa, Johnson moved to New York. There he entered the Director's Guild training program. One of his first projects was Paul Mazursky's autobiographical drama Next Stop, Greenwich Village. Johnson relocated to Los Angeles and worked as an assistant director on such projects as Movie Movie, The Brink's Job, Escape from Alcatraz and Mel Brooks's High Anxiety, which was co-written by future business partner Barry Levinson.

As part of Baltimore Pictures, his partnership with Levinson, Johnson produced all of the writer-director's films from 1982–1994. In addition to Rain Man, their diverse slate of features includes Good Morning, Vietnam, The Natural, Tin Men, Toys, Young Sherlock Holmes, Avalon, Diner (their 1982 debut project, for which Levinson's screenplay garnered an Oscar nomination) and Bugsy, which was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Bugsy also captured a Best Picture Golden Globe Award.

In 1994, Johnson established his own independent production company, Gran Via Productions,[3] and won the Los Angeles Film Critics New Generation Award for his very first effort; A Little Princess, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Under his new banner, Johnson produced the comedy Home Fries, written by Vince Gilligan and starring Drew Barrymore, and the dramatic thriller Donnie Brasco, starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. Gilligan won a screenwriting competition of which Johnson was a judge, subsequently had two of his screenplays produced by Johnson, Home Fries and Wilder Napalm. Johnson would later serve as a producer for Gilligan's television series Breaking Bad.[4] He also served as executive producer for CBS-TV's L.A. Doctors and Falcone, and for the hit drama The Guardian.

Johnson's recent slate of motion pictures includes The Alamo and The Rookie, both directed by John Lee Hancock; The Banger Sisters, with Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn; Brad Silberling's drama Moonlight Mile, with Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman; Tom Shadyac's supernatural thriller Dragonfly, with Kevin Costner and Kathy Bates; Levinson's Irish satire An Everlasting Piece; Robert Zemeckis's spooky thriller What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer; the hit comedy Galaxy Quest, with Tim Allen, Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver; and My Dog Skip, the acclaimed family drama (co-produced with John Lee Hancock) starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane and Kevin Bacon.

In recent years, Johnson produced Nick Cassavetes's drama The Notebook, The Wendell Baker Story, which marked the directorial debuts of brothers Luke and Andrew Wilson, and How to Eat Fried Worms.

Johnson has either presented or executive produced Luis Llosa's directorial debut, Sniper, Tim Robbins's directorial debut, Bob Roberts, Steven Soderbergh's Kafka, Robert Redford's Oscar-nominated Quiz Show and Journey of Hope, winner of the 1999 Foreign Language Academy Award. Recent projects include The Hunting Party, starring Richard Gere, Lake City, starring Sissy Spacek, Ballast, the critically acclaimed debut of director Lance Hammer, and My Sister's Keeper, starring Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin and Abigail Breslin. He is working with Guillermo del Toro to produce the movie adaption of David Moody's novel Hater.[5]

In 2005, Johnson produced The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, directed by Andrew Adamson and starring Tilda Swinton. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and three BAFTAs, winning one of each. In 2008 he produced a sequel, Prince Caspian. The third film in the Narnia series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, directed by Michael Apted, was released December 10, 2010.

Johnson released three feature films in 2012: Not Fade Away, written and directed by The Sopranos creator David Chase and starring James Gandolfini, Chasing Mavericks directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Gerard Butler, and Won't Back Down starring Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Holly Hunter. He produced the 2015 thriller Secret in Their Eyes starring Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Johnson was an executive producer on AMC's Emmy Award-winning series Breaking Bad. He was an executive producer on the Sundance Channel original series Rectify, and AMC's Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul. In 2019 he produced El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie for Netflix. In 2021, he produced the thriller The Little Things starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto, written and directed by John Lee Hancock. In 2021 he executive produced the AMC+ series adaptation of Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire.[6] In 2023, he executive produced Mayfair Witches, based on another Anne Rice property.[7]

In late 2022 it was announced that Johnson would venture into his first-ever Spanish-language series, a Church scandal drama, "Amen" (a working title).[8]

Produced by Johnson, the 2023 release The Holdovers reunited Paul Giamatti with his Sideways director Alexander Payne.[9] The film enjoyed widespread critical acclaim and garnered Golden Globe wins for Da'Vine Joy Randolph and Paul Giamatti. From seven BAFTA nominations it secured two awards, for Best Supporting Actress and Best Casting Director.[10] It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Ultimately, it secured the Best Supporting Actress award for Da'Vine Joy Randolph.[11]

Johnson served many years on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Producers Branch). For seventeen years, he headed the Best Foreign Language Film Committee.[12] In 2020, the category was renamed Best International Feature Film.


He was a producer in all films unless otherwise noted.



Executive producer

Assistant director
Year Film Role
1977 For the Love of Benji Second assistant director
High Anxiety
1978 Movie Movie
The Brink's Job
1979 Escape from Alcatraz
1980 Fatso Assistant director
As an actor
Year Film Role Notes
1963 Brandy Chico
1987 Good Morning, Vietnam Mr. Sloan Uncredited
2004 The Notebook Photographer
2009 My Sister's Keeper Uncle Pervis
Miscellaneous crew
Year Film Role
1980 Cruising Production executive
1992 Bob Roberts Presenter: In association with


Executive producer
Year Title Notes
1998−99 L.A. Doctors
2000 Falcone
2001 HRT TV movie
2001−04 The Guardian
2006 Love Monkey
2008−13 Breaking Bad
2014 Wild Blue TV movie
2015 Battle Creek
2013−16 Rectify
2014−17 Halt and Catch Fire
2015−22 Better Call Saul
2022−present Interview with the Vampire
2023−present Mayfair Witches
TBA Galaxy Quest
Year Title Credit Notes
1983 Diner TV pilot
1985 International Airport Assistant producer TV movie
2007 War Wounds Segment producer Documentary
2016 Shut Eye
2022 The Drew Barrymore Show Line producer


Accolades received by Mark Johnson
Award organization Year Category Work Ref.
Academy Awards 1989 Best Picture Rain Man [13]
BAFTA TV Awards 2014 Best International Programme Breaking Bad [14]
Golden Globe Awards 1989 Best Motion Picture – Drama Rain Man [15]
1992 Bugsy [16]
2014 Best Television Series – Drama Breaking Bad [17]
Primetime Emmy Awards 2013 Outstanding Drama Series [18]
Producers Guild of America Awards 2014 Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama [19]
2015 [20]


  1. ^ "Mark Johnson Biography (1945-)".
  2. ^ "Meet Mark Johnson, the UVA Alum Behind Some of Hollywood's Greatest Hits". November 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "Mark Johnson". Variety. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  4. ^ Segal, David (July 6, 2011). "The Dark Art of 'Breaking Bad'". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Fleming, Michael (May 20, 2008). "Universal, del Toro love 'Hater'". Variety. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  6. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (June 24, 2021). "'Interview With the Vampire' Series a Go at AMC". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 26, 2022.
  7. ^ Radish, Christina (February 8, 2023). "'Mayfair Witches' EP Mark Johnson on Developing the Stories of Anne Rice for TV and How the Possibilities Seem Endless". Collider. Retrieved March 23, 2024.
  8. ^ de la Fuente, Anna Marie (December 15, 2022). "'Better Call Saul' Producer Mark Johnson Partners With ViX+ and Exile Content for Spanish-Language Series 'Amen'". Variety. Retrieved December 26, 2022.
  9. ^ John Hazelton (February 17, 2024)"How 'The Holdovers' producer Mark Johnson has sustained a decades-long career". ScreenDaily. Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  10. ^ Zane, Alex (January 18, 2024). "'The Holdovers' from Countdown to the BAFTAs".
  11. ^ Phillips, David (November 20, 2024). "Producer Mark Johnson on Bringing 'The Holdovers' and Character-Driven Films to Theaters".
  12. ^ Hammond, Pete (February 16, 2024). "Oscar Winner Mark Johnson On His Latest Best Picture Nomination For 'The Holdovers'; Plus Secrets Of A Long Career Producing Classic Movies And TV Series – Behind The Lens".
  13. ^ "The 61st Academy Awards (1989)". January 24, 2024.
  14. ^ "Television in 2014". Retrieved January 24, 2024.
  15. ^ "Rain Man". January 24, 2024.
  16. ^ "Bugsy". January 24, 2024.
  17. ^ "Breaking Bad". January 24, 2024.
  18. ^ "Mark Johnson". Retrieved January 24, 2024.
  19. ^ "2014 Producers Guild Awards Winners". Producers Guild of America. January 20, 2014. Archived from the original on January 23, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2024.
  20. ^ "Producers Guild Awards Winners". Producers Guild of America. January 25, 2015. Archived from the original on January 28, 2015. Retrieved January 24, 2024.