With BA and MFA Film degrees from UCLA, Barry Sandler has written screenplays for numerous motion pictures, including the transgressive psychosexual cult classic CRIMES OF PASSION (New World/Orion/ Kathleen Turner, Anthony Perkins/dir. Ken Russell) THE MIRROR CRACK’D (EMI/Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Kim Novak, Angela Lansbury/dir. Guy Hamilton), EVIL UNDER THE SUN (Universal/Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, James Mason, Diana Rigg/dir. Guy Hamilton), THE DUCHESS AND THE DIRTWATER FOX (20th Century Fox/Goldie Hawn, George Segal/dir. Melvin Frank), THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT (20th Century Fox/Susan Sarandon, Marie-France Pisier/dir. Charles Jarrott), GABLE AND LOMBARD (Universal/Jill Clayburgh, James Brolin/dir. Sidney J. Furie), ALL-AMERICAN MURDER (Trimark/ Christopher Walken, Charlie Schlatter/dir. Anson Williams), THE LONERS (Fanfare/Dean Stockwell, Gloria Grahame/dir. Sutton Roley), THE VALLEY (Lagoon/Gerard Depardieu/dir. Barbet Schroeder) , EVIL NEVER DIES (Warner Bros/Katherine Heigl, Thomas Gibson/dir. Uli Edel), KANSAS CITY BOMBER (MGM/Raquel Welch, Jodie Foster/dir. Jerrold Freedman), and the groundbreaking landmark film MAKING LOVE (20th Century Fox/Michael Ontkean, Harry Hamlin, Kate Jackson/dir. Arthur Hiller), the first major studio film to present a positive portrayal of LGBTQ men and women.
Sandler also produced CRIMES OF PASSION, ALL-AMERICAN MURDER, KNOCK ‘EM DEAD, and associate produced MAKING LOVE.
Sandler has also written FUTURE HOUSE for Warner Bros., BRAINWAVE and LOVELAND for Universal, THE COMMON MANN for Columbia, TORCH for CBS, HOLLYWOOD HUSBANDS for NBC, STAR LADIES, ACTRESS and STAT for ABC,
THE FRONT RUNNER for Wildcat Entertainment, NIGHTMARE MAN for Planet Productions, FREAK SHOW and MINDBLOWER for Regent Entertainment, STARCHILD for Four Leaf Productions, and THE BLUE HOTEL for Cinema Line.
In 2010, his essay on Montgomery Clift, co-written with Tison Pugh, was published in LARGER THAN LIFE: MOVIE STARS OF THE 1950’S by Rutgers University Press.
Sandler is the recipient of the GLAAD Media Award, the Southern California Psychotherapy Association Courage in Filmmaking Award, the People for the American Way Defending Freedom Citation, the PFLAG Oscar Wilde Award, the MECLA Humanitarian Award, the GLCSC Award, the FMPTA Crystal Reel Award, and the Outfest 2002 Gay Pioneer Award for Courage and Artistry.
He has been honored by the Berlin, Seattle, Florida, Asheville, Santa Barbara, Outfest, Gay Orlando and Q2 Film Festivals, profiled in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Advocate, the Orlando Sentinel, the Orlando Weekly, the Miami Herald, the Chicago Sun Times, After Dark, Daily Variety, Esquire Magazine, GQ, the Village Voice, Wikipedia, Filmmakers Forum, ABC 20/20, NBC Today Show, A&E Biography,
CBC Saturday Night, WHO’S WHO IN AMERICA, and THE CELLULOID CLOSET by Vito Russo. He served as on-screen commentator in Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s award-winning documentary THE CELLULOID CLOSET.
In the acclaimed book by Eric Marcus, MAKING HISTORY: THE STRUGGLE FOR GAY AND LESBIAN EQUAL RIGHTS 1945-1990, he is profiled in the chapter
“The Hollywood Screenwriter – Barry Sandler”
In 2002, Sandler was named by The Advocate as one of the most influential gay artists in America.
Sandler currently has film projects in development at Dirtwater Productions and Rapid Heart Pictures, and is mounting a stage adaptation of CRIMES OF PASSION which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2015. In addition, he serves on the WGA Credit Arbitration Committee, the WGA Policy Review Board, the American Cinemateque Advisory Board, and has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1977, as well as being Artistic Director of the Outfest Screenwriting Lab and advisor to the Orlando Gay and Lesbian Center.
Since 2003, in addition to screenwriting, Sandler has been on the faculty of the University of Central Florida, where he teaches Feature/TV Writing and Film history in the Film Program of the Nicholson School of Communication and Media.
He was the inaugural instructor in the UCF Honors College LGBTQ program.
In 2007, Sandler was selected as one of the WGA Gay Groundbreakers. In 2008, he was chosen as an honorary guest speaker at California State University, Northridge.
In 2009, he was honored with a week-long tribute and retrospective of his work by the University of Nebraska, and in 2010 he was honored by the Florida Queer Arts Council with a commemoration of his contribution to advancing the positive images of gay and lesbian people through his work
In 2002, Sandler was honored by UCLA with a 20th anniversary tribute screening of his historic MAKING LOVE. In 2011 he was honored by the Orlando Gay and Lesbian Center with a month-long tribute of his work and a celebration of MAKING LOVE. In 2012, he was an Outfest Legacy Project honoree for that film, and in 2012, the Chelsea Arts Center in New York honored his film CRIMES OF PASSION, which was also given a special 25th Anniversary tribute screening in 2009 at the Florida Film Festival, where Sandler was honored along with the film’s legendary director, Ken Russell.
In 2012, Outfest presented a 30th anniversary commemorative screening of
MAKING LOVE in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of Outfest, in which the film was named at the top of a list of “The Films That Changed Our Lives”, the most important LGBTQ films ever made. In 2013, the Lavender Effect and the One Institute presented “Making Love Letters”, a benefit performance for LE consisting of prominent actors reading letters Sandler received from hundreds of LGBTQ men and women around the country who were profoundly affected by the film.
In July 2014, Outfest presented a special 30th anniversary screening of
CRIMES OF PASSION, followed by a panel reuniting cast and crew from the film.
In October 2014, the Montreal International Festival du Nouveau Cinema presented another 30th anniversary showing of the film, and in February 2015, the Spectacle Cinema in Brooklyn presented a month-long tribute to the film.
In 2015, Sandler wrote and produced KNOCK ‘EM DEAD, a black-comedy/mystery satire of Hollywood, directed by David DeCoteau. The film is noteworthy for casting an entire cast of Black actors in roles non-race-specific. It was released in theaters by eOne, followed by release on VOD, DVD and Netflix.
In September 2016, Arrow Films released a special Blu-Ray edition of CRIMES OF PASSION, for which Sandler did an extensive video interview that appears on the Blu-Ray, discussing his 40-year career as screenwriter and producer.
In January 2017, Outfest presented a special tribute/screening in Los Angeles of Sandler’s film THE MIRROR CRACK’D, followed by a Q&A with Sandler, in anticipation of the Special Edition Blu-Ray release of the film on which Sandler did an interview recounting his experiences adapting Agatha Christie to the screen and working on the film in England with an all-star cast.
In July 2017, Laemmle Anniversary Events presented a special 35th anniversary tribute and screening of MAKING LOVE in Los Angeles, followed by a panel discussion with Sandler on the groundbreaking impact and legacy of the film after 35 years.
At its Closing Night Gala Ceremony in Los Angeles on July 16, 2017, Outfest presented Sandler with its highest honor, the Thom/Tom Award, for Distinguished Service to the LGBTQ Community.
In the fall of 2021, the American Cinemateque presented a special screening of
KANSAS CITY BOMBER.
On September 8, 2021, the WGA LGBTQ Writers Group presented their Inaugural Salon as a tribute to Sandler and his groundbreaking landmark film MAKING LOVE. The event, “MAKING LOVE WITH BARRY SANDLER” was a celebration of Sandler’s career, his contribution to LGBTQ history and culture, and the film’s legacy and historical significance as the first major studio film to present a positive portrayal of LGBTQ people.
On May 17, 2022, the American Cinemateque presented a special screening of CRIMES OF PASSION in their series of classic, subversive erotic thrillers.
In May 2022, the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles presented a screening of CRIMES OF PASSION as part of a week-long series of “Classic Films Set in L.A.”
On June 23, 2022, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held a special 40th anniversary event screening of MAKING LOVE, celebrating the film’s role in LGBTQ cinematic history and the positive impact it has had and continues to have for LGBTQ people around the world. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with Sandler. Scott Berg and Harry Hamlin on the film’s historical and cultural significance.
On Opening Night of Outfest 2022, Sandler was honored with an onstage tribute as one of the “Architects of Outfest”.
Sandler has written the book and is currently working on an original stage musical “KNOCK ‘EM DEAD: A CRAZY MURDER MUSICAL”, with composer Daniel McCook,
to produce for the stage in 2024.