Steven E. de Souza
Born (1947-11-17) November 17, 1947 (age 76)
Alma materPennsylvania State University
Occupation(s)Screenwriter, director, producer
Years active1972−present
Notable work48 Hrs.
Running Man
Die Hard
Street Fighter
Judge Dredd

Steven E. de Souza (born November 17, 1947) is an American screenwriter, producer and director of film and television.[1] He is known for writing several high-profile action films of the 1980s and '90s, notably 48 Hrs., Commando, The Running Man, Die Hard and its first sequel, Hudson Hawk, and Judge Dredd.[2]

Early life

De Souza was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 1948, the son of a Jamaican father, H. Walton Henriques de Souza,[3] and Evelyn (née Green). His father owned a real estate company.[4][5] He attended Pennsylvania State University, where he was a student of science fiction author Philip Klass (better known by his pseudonym William Tenn).[6]


He began his career as a story editor for primetime television series such as The Six Million Dollar Man and The Hardy Boys Mysteries, before graduating to the role of producer and writer. He produced the first season of Knight Rider, and was the creator of the short-lived sci-fi series The Powers of Matthew Star.

De Souza started his film career writing, directing, and producing the low-budget stoner comedy Arnold's Wrecking Co., which won the Special Jury Prize at the 1972 Atlanta Film Festival.[7] Beginning in the early 1980s, he became a prolific screenwriter of feature films, specializing in blockbuster action and thriller films like Commando and Die Hard. He wrote some of the most successful films of the era, including 48 Hrs., The Running Man,[8] The Flintstones, and Die Hard 2.[9] He was frequently hired by studios as a script doctor in order to rewrite preexisting screenplays during production to add more action and humor. He has been nominated twice for the Edgar Allan Poe award, an award given to any piece of media for excellence in mystery writing. The first in 1984 for 48 Hrs. and again in 1989 for Die Hard. De Souza also "won" the 1991 Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk. He wrote and directed the 1994 video game adaptation Street Fighter after being introduced to the franchise by his son.[10] Though the film received negative critical reception and failed to spawn an intended franchise, it has since become a cult classic in some circles.

In 2000, he was honored with the Norman Lear Award for Lifetime Achievement in writing. In 2004, he received the Dr. Bird award, which is given for achievement in the arts to people of Jamaican descent.[11] De Souza appeared in the feature-length documentary Dreams on Spec, which profiled three aspiring screenwriters and featured comments from a number of distinguished writers like James L. Brooks, Nora Ephron, Carrie Fisher, and him. His Web series Unknown Sender became a triple honoree at the 2009 Webby Awards for Best Writing,[12] Best Dramatic Series,[13] and Best Individual Performance.[14]

In 2011, he teamed with Family Guy director Pete Michels for the Fox Network animated pilot "Spyburbia."[15]

De Souza has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Premiere, Empire magazine, Buzz, and Fade In.[citation needed]


Film writer

Year Title Director Notes
1973 Arnold's Wrecking Co. Himself Atlanta Film Festival Gold Medal Award
1982 48 Hrs. Walter Hill Nominated- Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture
1983 The Return of Captain Invincible Philippe Mora
1985 Commando Mark L. Lester
1986 Jumpin' Jack Flash Penny Marshall Uncredited
1987 The Running Man Paul Michael Glaser
1988 Bad Dreams Andrew Fleming
Die Hard John McTiernan Nominated- Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture
Seven Hours to Judgment Beau Bridges Credited as Elliot Stephens
1990 Die Hard 2 Renny Harlin
1991 Hudson Hawk Michael Lehmann Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screenplay
Ricochet Russell Mulcahy
1994 The Flintstones Brian Levant Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screenplay
Beverly Hills Cop III John Landis
Street Fighter Himself
1995 Judge Dredd Danny Cannon
1997 Turbulence Robert Butler Uncredited
1998 Knock Off Tsui Hark
2003 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life Jan de Bont
2004 Blast Anthony Hickox


Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1974–1977 The Six Million Dollar Man No Yes No 3 episodes
1976 Gemini Man No Yes No 3 episodes
1977 Rosetti and Ryan No Yes No 1 episode
1977–1979 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries No Yes No 2 episodes
1978 The Bionic Woman No Yes No 2 episodes
Lucan No Yes No 1 episode
1981 Foul Play No Yes No 2 episodes
1982 The Renegades No Yes No Television film
1982–1983 The Powers of Matthew Star No Yes Yes Creator
Knight Rider No Yes Yes 2 episodes
1984 V No Yes Supervisor 1 episode
1987 The Spirit No Yes Supervisor Television film
1988 Supercarrier No Yes Executive Creator
1991 Tales from the Crypt Yes Yes No Episode "Carrion Death"
K-9000 No Yes Executive Television film
1993–1994 Cadillacs and Dinosaurs No Yes Executive
2000 Possessed Yes Yes No Television film
2002–2003 Adventure Inc. No No Executive
2008–2012 Unknown Sender Yes Yes Executive Creator

Awards and nominations



  1. ^ "Steven E. de Souza on Earwolf". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  2. ^ "Steven E. de Souza Writes the Most Explosive Hits". July 15, 1994. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  3. ^ "Jamaica Gleaner Online".
  4. ^ "Steven E. de Souza Biography (1948?-)". Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  5. ^ "H. Walton Henriques De Souza - tribunedigital-mcall". The Morning Call. November 19, 1996. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  6. ^ amazon (May 9, 1920). "Remembering Golden Age Science Fiction Author William Tenn". Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  7. ^ "Arnold's Wrecking Co." Boxoffice Magazine. January 7, 1974.
  8. ^ "Interview: THE RUNNING MAN Writer Steven E. de Souza on Living in the Future of 1987". ScreenAnarchy. February 28, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  9. ^ "Street Fighter: The Movie — What went wrong | Polygon". March 10, 2014. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  10. ^ "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW (PART 1): Steven E. DeSouza (writer/director of STREET FIGHTER)". Bristol Bad Film Club. March 19, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  11. ^ "Tomb Raider Chronicles - DE SOUZA SCORES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT". Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  12. ^ "Best Writing | 2009 | The Webby Awards Gallery + Archive". Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  13. ^ "Drama: Series | 2009 | The Webby Awards Gallery + Archive". Archived from the original on October 10, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "Best Individual Performance | 2009 | The Webby Awards Gallery + Archive". Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  15. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 9, 2011). "Kids Series Producer Cookie Jar Expands into Primetime With Development Slate". Deadline.