Gavin O'Connor is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, playwright and actor.
After attending the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, he became interested in all aspects of film production, and in 1992, he wrote and produced Ted Demme's directorial debut, the short film 'The Bet'. Three years later, he made his own feature film, co–writing and directing debut with 'Comfortably Numb', about the moral dilemmas facing a Connecticut preppie-turned-NYC prosecutor, which failed to garner a wide release after screenings at both the Cannes Film Festival and the Boston Film Festival. He then turned to the stage, producing, writing, and starring in the off-Broadway play 'Rumblings of a Romance Renaissance' in 1997.
At the same time, O'Connor began work on a screenplay based on then-wife Angela Shelton's memories of her childhood spent on the road with her serial-marrying mother. Impressed by Tony Award-winning British actress Janet McTeer's appearance on Charlie Rose's talk show in 1997, he was determined to cast her in what had become 'Tumbleweeds' (in which he co-starred) and he was forced to finance the film himself when potential backers expressed their concern at her relative anonymity in the States.
His perseverance paid off - the 1999 film won him the Filmmakers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival, McTeer's performance earned her a Golden Globe as Best Actress and Academy Award and Screen Actors Guild nominations in the same category, and Kimberly J. Brown, cast as her pre-teen daughter, won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance. O'Connor and Shelton were asked to write a script for the pilot of a TV series based on the film, but nothing ever materialized with the project. The couple divorced shortly afterward.
After executive producing several smaller, independent projects, O'Connor went mainstream in 2004 with 'Miracle', a film about the United States hockey team's victory in the 1980 Winter Olympics, which he directed for Walt Disney Pictures. He also produced the highly acclaimed HBO Film, "The Smashing Machine", that chronicled the struggles of fighter Mark Kerr.
O'Connor is filming the MMA film 'Warrior', for which he wrote the screenplay and is directing. The film is slated for a 2011 release by Lions Gate Entertainment.