Three-time Academy Award nominee Frank Darabont was born in 1959 in a refugee camp in France, the son of Hungarian parents who were forced to flee their homeland after the failed revolution of 1956. The family arrived in the United States as asylum-seeking immigrants when Frank was an infant, eventually settling in Los Angeles.
After Frank graduated Hollywood High School in 1977, he spent the next nine years struggling to establish a writing career. During this lean period, he worked many different jobs to make ends meet. His first job in films was as a production assistant on the horror movie Hell Night. From there, Frank moved into the art department, working primarily as a set dresser and in set construction.
The lean years ended in 1986 when Frank was enlisted by his good friend Chuck Russell to co-write the screenplay of New Line Cinema’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, a film which Russell then directed. This film was the welcome break that got Frank into the Writers Guild and got the ball rolling on his career.
Working steadily as a screenwriter for the next six years, Frank was then able to leverage his writing into a directing break with his feature directorial debut, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994). An adaptation of an excellent Stephen King short novel, the 1994 Castle Rock Entertainment film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. For his work on this film, Frank also received both WGA and DGA nominations, in addition to winning the 1995 Humanitas Prize and the Scripter Award. Frank has been forever grateful to Stephen King and the fine folks at Castle Rock – Rob Reiner, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer – for giving him his directing break, and for their generous and unstinting support throughout.
Frank’s second directorial feature in 1999 was another Stephen King adaptation for Castle Rock- The Green Mile, starring Tom Hanks. It was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay. (This movie’s Best Picture nomination made Darabont one of only six directors in Academy history to have their first two movies nominated in that category). Frank was again nominated by both the WGA and DGA, and the film won two People’s Choice Awards in the categories of Favorite Film and Favorite Dramatic Film.
Frank went on to direct The Magestic in 2001, starring Jim Carrey and Martin Landau. In 2005, Frank wrote and directed his third Stephen King adaptation, The Mist, starring Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harden.
In television, Frank has written for shows like HBO’s “Tales From The Crypt” and Lucasfilm’s “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.” In 2010, Frank Darabont created and produced the hit zombie series “The Walking Dead,” which boasts the highest total viewership of any series in cable television history.