Famous American Screenplay Writers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes
4
Famous As: Television Producer
Birthdate: January 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago

Shonda Rhimes is a screenwriter, author, and television producer. She is credited with creating, writing, and executive producing one of the most popular American medical drama TV series ever, Grey's Anatomy. She is also credited with creating series like Private Practice and Scandal. In 2007, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 People Who Help Shape the World.

 2 Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton
4
Famous As: Author, Screenwriter, Film Director
Birthdate: October 23, 1942
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: November 4, 2008

Michael Crichton was an American filmmaker and author. He wrote several science-fiction books, which have sold more than 200 million copies. Many of his books, such as The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Congo, Rising Sun, and Disclosure, have been adapted into highly successful films. He is also credited with creating the popular medical drama TV series, ER.

 3 Leslie Jones

Leslie Jones
4
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: September 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

 4 Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach
4
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: September 3, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, New York

Noah Baumbach is an American filmmaker and screenwriter. One of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers of his generation, Noah Baumbach has received Academy Award nominations for films, such as Marriage Story and The Squid and the Whale. His style of filmmaking is cited as an influence by many aspiring filmmakers.

 5 Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry
4
Birthdate: August 19, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: El Paso
Died: October 24, 1991
TV writer and producer Gene Roddenberry, who created the original Star Trek series of the 1960s, also produced its spin-offs. He was the first TV writer to have a Hollywood Walk of Fame star and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. His ashes were flown into space.

 6 Chuck Lorre

Chuck Lorre
4
Famous As: Writer, Television Producer, Director
Birthdate: October 18, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bethpage, New York

Chuck Lorre is an American actor, composer, and television director. Referred to as the King of Sitcoms throughout the 2010s, Lorre is credited with creating popular sitcoms, such as The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Dharma & Greg, The Kominsky Method, and Young Sheldon.

 7 Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Producer, Director
Birthdate: May 19, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: June 26, 2012

Nora Ephron was an American writer, filmmaker, and journalist. She is known for writing films like Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally... The Nora Ephron Prize was created by the Tribeca Film Festival in her memory. Her life and work inspired the 2016 documentary film Everything Is Copy, which was directed by her son Jacob Bernstein.

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 8 Adam McKay

Adam McKay
4
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: April 17, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Adam McKay began as the chief writer of Saturday Night Live. The Academy Award-winning screenwriter later co-founded the Upright Citizens Brigade and directed the Anchorman films. Along with Will Ferrell, he co-wrote several films and series and founded the site Funny or Die. He has also hosted a science podcast.

 9 David Ayer

David Ayer
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer, Actor
Birthdate: January 18, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Champaign

 10 Neil Simon

Neil Simon
3
Famous As: Playwright & Screenwriter
Birthdate: July 4, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York
Died: August 26, 2018

 11 Max Landis

Max Landis
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film actor, Film director
Birthdate: August 3, 1985
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Beverly Hills

 12 Donald P. Bellisario

Donald P. Bellisario
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Television producer, Film director, Film producer
Birthdate: August 8, 1935
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Washington County

 13 David Mamet

David Mamet
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: November 30, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Author, screenwriter, and playwright David Mamet is best known for his Pulitzer-winning and Tony-nominated play Glengarry Glen Ross. He has written for many Broadway and off-Broadway plays and also for films such as House of Games. He has produced and written for the show The Unit and authored several books.

 14 Charlie Kaufman

Charlie Kaufman
4
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 19, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Charlie Kaufman is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and novelist. One of the most decorated screenwriters of his generation, Kaufman has won several prestigious awards, such as the Academy Award, BAFTA Awards, and Writers Guild of America award. Three of his scripts feature in the 101 greatest movie screenplays list published by the Writers Guild of America.

 15 Shane Van Dyke

Shane Van Dyke
3
Famous As: Actor, Screenwriter, Film director, Television actor
Birthdate: August 28, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 16 Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 27, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cleveland

 17 Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Director & Producer
Birthdate: June 23, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City
Joss Whedon is best known for creating the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. He has directed the Marvel film The Avengers and its sequel. He co-wrote Justice League and Toy Story. He has also created various comic book series, such as Astonishing X-Men, and owns two production houses.

 18 Amy Sherman-Palladino

Amy Sherman-Palladino
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: January 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, United States
Amy Sherman-Palladino created many popular comedy-drama series, such as Gilmore Girls, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Bunheads. The six-time Primetime Emmy-winning director became the first female won win the Emmy for direction and comedy writing. She owns a production house and is known for her signature master-shot style.

 19 Douglas Fairbanks

Douglas Fairbanks
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 23, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States
Died: December 12, 1939

 20 Wyatt Cooper

Wyatt Cooper
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 1, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Quitman, Mississippi, United States
Died: January 5, 1978

Wyatt Cooper was an American author, actor, and screenwriter. He is remembered for his marriage with socialite Gloria Vanderbilt—a union that produced Anderson Cooper, a popular television journalist. While being married to Gloria Vanderbilt, Wyatt Cooper often made public appearances and enjoyed hogging the limelight.

 21 Dalton Trumbo

Dalton Trumbo
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Novelist
Birthdate: December 9, 1905
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Montrose, Colorado, United States
Died: September 10, 1976
Screenwriter/author Dalton Trumbo had written many popular films such as Roman Holiday and Spartacus. He was one of the Hollywood Ten and was blacklisted by the industry for refusing to testify before the HUAC during the investigation on Communist influences in Hollywood. He later continued to write, using pseudonyms.

 22 Nick Castle

Nick Castle
3
Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer, Film actor
Birthdate: September 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 23 Nat Faxon

Nat Faxon
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 11, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Nathaniel Faxon is best known for his Academy Award-winning screenplay of The Descendants. He appeared as Ben Fox in the series Ben and Kate and as Russ in Married. He has also lent his voice to many projects, such as Disenchantment and co-directed films such as The Way, Way Back.

 24 Shane Black

Shane Black
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Actor
Birthdate: December 16, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

 25 S. E. Hinton

S. E. Hinton
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 22, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

 26 James L. Brooks

James L. Brooks
3
Famous As: Film producer, Film director
Birthdate: May 9, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 27 Elaine May

Elaine May
3
Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer, Playwright
Birthdate: April 21, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

 28 Dan Gilroy

Dan Gilroy
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director
Birthdate: June 24, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Santa Monica

 29 Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal

Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal
3
Famous As: screenwriter, film producer
Birthdate: March 15, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City

 30 Akiva Schaffer

Akiva Schaffer
3
Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer, Film editor, Songwriter, Writer, Television actor
Birthdate: December 1, 1977
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berkeley

 31 Sean Bridgers

Sean Bridgers
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 15, 1968
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

 32 Jenji Kohan

Jenji Kohan
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Television producer
Birthdate: July 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City

 33 Peter Marc Jacobson

Peter Marc Jacobson
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film producer, Television actor, Film actor, Film director, Actor
Birthdate: October 27, 1957
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City

 34 Joe Ranft

Joe Ranft
3
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: March 13, 1960
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pasadena, California
Died: August 16, 2005

 35 Bryan Fuller

Bryan Fuller
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Television producer
Birthdate: July 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lewiston

 36 David Chase

David Chase
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer
Birthdate: August 22, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mount Vernon

 37 Greg Berlanti

Greg Berlanti
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film producer
Birthdate: May 24, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Suffern, New York, United States

 38 Simon Kinberg

Simon Kinberg
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film producer
Birthdate: August 2, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

 39 Vince Russo

Vince Russo
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Podcaster
Birthdate: January 24, 1961
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City

 40 Alex Kurtzman

Alex Kurtzman
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer
Birthdate: September 7, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 41 Christopher McQuarrie

Christopher McQuarrie
3
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: June 12, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Princeton, New Jersey, United States

 42 Drew Goddard

Drew Goddard
3
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: February 26, 1975
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Alamos

 43 Damon Lindelof

Damon Lindelof
3
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: April 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Teaneck, New Jersey, United States

 44 Dan Fogelman

Dan Fogelman
3
Famous As: Producer
Birthdate: February 19, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: River Vale, New Jersey, United States

 45 Burnie Burns

Burnie Burns
3
Famous As: Screenplay Writer, Actor, Entrepreneur, Filmmaker
Birthdate: January 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rochester, New York, United States

 46 Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Joseph L. Mankiewicz
3
Famous As: Writer, Director, Producer
Birthdate: February 11, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 5, 1993
Polish-American screenwriter and director Joseph L. Mankiewicz won Academy Awards for his work in the movies All About Eve and Letter to Three Wives. He was associated with Paramount, MGM, and Twentieth Century Fox. He also had his own production company, Figaro, and directed the film Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor.

 47 Diablo Cody

Diablo Cody
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Producer, Director, Dancer, Writer, Journalist
Birthdate: June 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lemont, Illinois, United States

 48 Mike Henry

Mike Henry
3
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: November 7, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pontiac, Michigan, United States

 49 Nicholas Pileggi

Nicholas Pileggi
3
Famous As: Writer, Screenwriter, Film producer, Journalist
Birthdate: February 22, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City

 50 Paula Pell

Paula Pell
3
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: April 15, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Joliet, Illinois, United States