A prime example of the "power producers" who dominated the movie business in the 1980s and 1990s, Joel Silver is the bombastic force behind such hugely successful action series as "48 Hours," "Lethal Weapon" and "The Matrix."
After working with producer Lawrence Gordon in the 1970s, Silver struck out on his own and had his first hit with 1982's "48 Hours," which set the template for the modern mismatched-buddies action comedy. A string of hits, including "Predator" and "Die Hard," that featured big explosions and beautiful women led Premiere magazine to compare Silver to one of the most famous producers of the 1930s and '40s by dubbing him "the Selznick of schlock."
Silver became well-known for his outsized personality and a tendency to scream at those around him, be they assistants or studio executives, when agitated. The studio mogul characters in 1991's "Grand Canyon" and 1993's "True Romance" were widely believed to have been based on him, and Silver even had a cameo as a loud-mouthed director in 1988's "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
After two "Matrix" sequels in 2003 turned out to be disappointments, Silver's stature in Hollywood cooled and has never fully recovered. Though he continues to have a deal at his longtime studio home Warner Bros., Silver's biggest recent production, 2008's "Speed Racer," was a flop. His lone major hit in the last few years was 2009's "Sherlock Holmes."
In 2006, Silver's production company Dark Castle Entertainment raised $240 million to finance its own movies. But most of the pictures made under that deal, including "RocknRolla" and "The Losers," have been box office duds.