Lawrence Schiller has worked as a producer, director, writer, screenwriter, photographer, and publisher. Schiller launched his career as a photographer at age 16, photographing the funeral of spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, after which his work started being published in LIFE Magazine, Paris Match, The Sunday Times, Time, and Newsweek and other major publications. As a photojournalist, Schiller conducted many interviews with subjects ranging from Marilyn Monroe, Susan Atkins, and O.J. Simpson to Jack Ruby and Marina Oswald. Many of these interviews later became the basis for movies for television which he produced such as The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald (1977) and produced and directed, like Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenét and the City of Boulder (2000).
Schiller transitioned into working in motion pictures as a still photographer on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). In 1971, he co-directed his first documentary, The Lexington Experience, followed by The American Dreamer about Dennis Hopper, which he also co-directed. In 1975, Schiller co-directed the Academy® Award-winning documentary The Man Who Skied Down Everest, then directed his first movie for television, Hey, I’m Alive (1975). Marilyn: A Biography, written by Norman Mailer and containing photos taken by Schiller, became the basis for the movie for television, Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980) which Schiller produced and directed. He and Mailer worked together again on the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Executioner’s Song, which in 1982 Mailer and Schiller adapted for television with Schiller directing. The movie won an Emmy for Tommy Lee Jones’ performance as convicted killer Gary Gilmore.
Schiller’s next major project was the ambitious eight hour miniseries Peter the Great (1986), for which he served as executive producer and directed several episodes. The drama received three Emmys, including one for Outstanding Miniseries. Other notable credits include the television film Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story (2002), the Court TV series Trace Evidence: The Files of Dr. Henry Lee (2004), and the documentary JonBenet: Anatomy of a Cold Case (2006). Most recently, Schiller completed Marilyn & Me, a memoir in words and photographs about working with Marilyn Monroe before her death in 1962.