Academy and Emmy Award-winning writer/director/producer Alan Ball is known for continually laying bare the often dark and occasionally humorous underbelly of the American experience while exploring complicated themes that inform modern society.
Born in Atlanta, Ball studied Theatre Arts at Florida State University. After college, he moved to New York and established himself as a noted playwright. One of his early plays, 'Five Women Wearing the Same Dress,' premiered in 1993 at the Manhattan Class Company. The play featured Allison Janney who would later star in Ball's seminal work, 'American Beauty.'
After moving to Hollywood, Ball caught his first big break writing for the sitcom 'Grace Under Fire.' After one season on the show, Ball left to become a writer and eventually a co-producer on the sitcom 'Cybill,' starring Cybill Shepherd. At the same time, Ball began to focus on screenwriting, and one of his first screenplays, 'American Beauty,' an exploration of a dysfunctional American family, was bought by the newly formed DreamWorks SKG studio. The film—and Ball's screenplay—received overwhelming critical acclaim. In March 2000, 'American Beauty' won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, with Best Original Screenplay honors going to Ball.
Staying close to his roots in television, Ball followed up American Beauty by creating and executive producing the groundbreaking HBO drama 'Six Feet Under,' which followed the trials and tribulations of the Fisher family set against the backdrop of the family-run funeral home. The series ran for five seasons and was one of the most watched series in HBO history. It was also one of the most honored, snaring two Golden Globes and six Emmys, among numerous awards. It also netted Ball an Emmy and DGA Award for his direction of the series pilot, his directorial debut.
In 2007, Ball made his feature film directorial debut on 'Towelhead,' a coming of age drama that he adapted for the screen from the acclaimed Alicia Erian novel of the same name. The film, starring Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello and Toni Collette, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was distributed theatrically in 2008 by Warner Independent Pictures.
In 2008, Ball continued his successful collaboration with HBO by creating and executive producing the series 'True Blood.' Based on the novel, 'Dead Until Dark,' one of the Southern Vampire series of books by Charlaine Harris, 'True Blood' garnered early critical and popular acclaim, and in its first season received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Drama Series. The series finished its debut season with a record increase in viewers. Its second season earned another Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Drama series, as well as a Producer's Guild nomination and a Grammy soundtrack nomination for Ball.
Alan Ball lives in Los Angeles.