Long Island, New York, United States
Starting with his first major film, "Natural Born Killers" (1994), renegade producer Don Murphy played by his own rules. Shortly after graduating from USC's School of Cinematic Arts in the early 1990s, Murphy teamed up with producing partner Jane Hamsher to turn unknown screenwriter Quentin Tarantino's first script into a feature. Fueled by the film's success -- and its controversy -- Murphy formed the production company Angry Films four years later, spearheading such moody projects as the gritty indie drama "Bully" (2001) and the Johnny Depp thriller "From Hell" (2001) before specializing in more crowd-pleasing fare like the popular "Transformers" series and the boxing-robots feature "Real Steel" (2011).Born in April 1967, Murphy grew up in Hicksville, NY, devouring comic books and episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (1959-64). His father was a successful advertising executive who secured his son a job at a firm that represented several film studios, allowing Murphy to create movie ad campaigns during his summer breaks from Georgetown University. Though Murphy earned a business degree, he spent his free time frequenting the theaters of Washington, D.C., where the films of Roman Polanski and Stanley Kubrick inspired him to head west and study film instead of law as he had originally planned.Following USC and "Natural Born Killers," Murphy and Tarantino's relationship turned sour, culminating in a 1997 public fistfight and a lawsuit against Tarantino for $5 million in damages. Murphy then tackled the issue of Neo-Nazism with his next production, "Apt Pupil" (1998), before bringing the Victorian-set graphic novel "From Hell" (2001) to the big screen. After another comic-book adaptation, "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" (2003), Murphy set his sights on a dream project: making a movie out of the 1980s toy robot franchise, Transformers. After obtaining the rights from Hasbro, Murphy drummed up interest from Steven Spielberg, who hired "Armageddon" director Michael Bay to helm "Transformers" (2007), which was released to enormous box office success.Sticking close to his horror, robot and comic book roots, Murphy then juggled productions like the sci-fi thriller "Splice" (2009) and the futuristic "Real Steel" (2011) with two financially successful yet critically panned "Transformers" sequels; "Revenge of the Fallen" (2009) and "Dark of the Moon" (2011). After marrying Scottish filmmaker Susan Montford, Murphy teamed up with his wife to co-produce the films "Shoot 'Em Up" (2007) and "While She Was Out" (2008). Helping to solidify his image as a man unafraid to share his strong opinions was Murphy's website and message board, where he often actively engaged in heated discussions with fans.