July 15, 1974
Evanston, Illinois, United States
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Very few documentary filmmakers make the leap to successfully helming big-screen features, but Seth Gordon was an exception. After making his debut as a director with the acclaimed videogame documentary "The King Of Kong" (2007), Gordon went on to direct some of the most commercially successful comedies of his era, including the massive hit "Horrible Bosses" (2011). Gordon was also much in demand as a comedy director on television, working on shows such as "The Office" (NBC 2005-13) and "Parks & Recreation" (NBC 2009- ), but his beginnings as a documentarian allied with a keen sense of social justice meant that he continued to work on smaller-scale non-fiction projects.Gordon was born in Evanston, IL in 1974 and graduated high school in Seattle before entering Yale University to study architecture. In college, he spent 6 months as a volunteer in a small village in Kenya, helping to build a school, a project that would form the basis of his earliest film project. After studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gordon worked as a cameraman on "Dixie Chicks: Shut Up And Sing" (2006), which documented the group's 2003 world tour and its controversial aftermath after lead singer Natalie Maines denounced President George W. Bush onstage. He produced and edited the punk-era documentary "New York Doll" (2005), which was nominated for a jury prize at Sundance, but his breakthrough came in 2007 with "The King Of Kong," an entertaining look at the competitive world of retro videogame enthusiasts.Following his documentary success, Gordon was quickly tapped to helm the Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn romantic comedy "Four Christmases" (2008), which met with mixed reviews but decent box-office. Gordon continued to hone his comedic skills as a television director on shows such as "Community" (NBC 2009-14), "Modern Family" (ABC 2009- ), "The Office" (NBC 2005-13) and "Parks & Recreation" (NBC 2009- ). In 2010 Gordon returned to non-fiction when he produced "Freakonomics" (2010), a collection of short films by such documentarians as Morgan Spurlock, inspired by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt's pop-economics bestseller. Gordon had a big-screen breakthrough with "Horrible Bosses" (2011), a ribald look at murderous office politics that made the most of its R rating, and drew terrific performances from an all-star cast. He next co-created, co-wrote, produced, and directed five episodes of "Breaking In" (Fox 2011-12), a rapid-fire sitcom about the eccentric office staff of a high-tech (and ethically dubious) security company. Gordon then reunited with "Horrible Bosses" star Jason Bateman for the comedy "Identity Thief" (2013), another high-octane crime farce which co-starred Melissa McCarthy.