Neal Israel is an American actor, screenwriter, film and television producer, and director, best known for his comedy work in the 1980s.



Israel started his career on the Broadway stage as an assistant to the legendary director, George Abbott. After working at the New Dramatists Guild and the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference he came to LA, and was an executive at both ABC and CBS. During this time he wrote and directed the break through indie hit, TUNNELVISION which introduced such future stars as Chevy Chase, John Candy and Al Franken. On television, he wrote RINGO, a special that starred Ringo Starr and George Harrison. He then wrote with his partner, Pat Proft, the first POLICE ACADEMY movie which spawned six sequels. He directed and co wrote Bachelor Party, which starred Tom Hanks. He followed this with the comedy Moving Violations. Real Genius, another of his scripts, was made into a successful film starring Val Kilmer, and in 1987, he produced the film Three O'Clock High. He also directed "Breaking The Rules" starring Jason Bateman and the cult classic, "Surf Ninjas" with Rob Schneider and Leslie Nielson.

Neal continues to work in both film and television as a writer, director and producer and script doctor. He has directed numerous MOW's, pilots and episodes of shows like The Wonder Years, Nash Bridges, "Joan of Arcadia", and Even Stevens. Recent directing credits include Disney's Zeke and Luther and Kickin It.

In 2004, he executive produced the Academy Award nominated film Finding Neverland which starred Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.

Personal life

During the eighties, Neal married director Amy Heckerling. They had one daughter, Mollie, before divorcing in 1984.


As Director

  • Tunnel Vision (with Bradley R. Swirnoff) (1976)
  • Americathon (1979)
  • Bachelor Party (1984)
  • Moving Violations (1985)
  • The George Burns Comedy Week (1985) (TV)
  • Combat Academy (1986)
  • The Cover Girl and the Cop (1989) (TV)
  • The Wonder Years (1991) (TV)
  • Breaking the Rules (1992) (aka Sketches)
  • Surf Ninjas (1993)
  • Harts of the West (1994) (TV)
  • Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare (1995) (TV)
  • Dad's Week Off (1997) (TV)
  • The Love Boat: The Next Wave (1999) (TV)
  • Clueless (1997–1999) (TV)
  • Shasta McNasty (1999) (TV)
  • Even Stevens (2000) (TV)
  • The Poof Point (2001) (TV)
  • Lizzie McGuire (2001) (TV)
  • The Mind of the Married Man (2001) (TV)
  • Family Affair (2002) (TV)
  • The Brady Bunch in the White House (2002) (TV)
  • Do Over (2002) (TV)
  • National Lampoon's Thanksgiving Family Reunion (2003) (TV)
  • Phil of the Future (2004) (TV)
  • About a Girl (2007) (TV)
  • The Fresh Beat Band (2010) (TV)
  • Zeke and Luther (2011) (TV)
  • Dog with a Blog (2012) (TV)

As Producer

  • Twilight Theater (1982) (TV)
  • Three O'Clock High (1987)
  • Life on the Flipside (1987)
  • CBS Summer Playhouse (1988) (TV)
  • Dream Date (1989) (TV)
  • Bonnie & Clyde: The True Story (1992)
  • Taking the Heat (1993) (TV)
  • Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare (1995) (TV)
  • Kidz in the Wood (1996) (TV)
  • Chocolate for Breakfast (1998)
  • The Runner (1999)
  • Miracles (2003) (TV)
  • Finding Neverland (2004)

As Writer

  • Yogi's Gang (1973) (TV)
  • Tunnelvision (with Michael Mislove) (1976)
  • Cracking Up (with Phil Proctor, Peter Bergman, The Credibility Gap and The Ace Trucking Company) (1977)
  • Americathon (with Phil Proctor, Peter Bergman, Michael Mislove and Monica Johnson) (1979)
  • All Commercials... A Steve Martin Special (1980) (TV)
  • Steve Martin's Twilight Theater (1982) (TV)
  • Police Academy (with Pat Proft and Hugh Wilson) (1984)
  • Bachelor Party (with Pat Proft) (1984)
  • Moving Violations (with Pat Proft) (1985)
  • Real Genius (with Pat Proft and Peter Torokvei) (1985)
  • Look Who's Talking Too (with Amy Heckerling) (1990)
  • The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley: The Case of the Sea World Adventure (with Arnold Margolin) (1995) (Video Short)
  • The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley: The Case of the Mystery Cruise (with Arnold Margolin) (1995) (Video Short)
  • Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare (with Patrick J. Clifton) (1995) (TV)
  • Kidz in the Wood (with Robert Klane) (1996) (TV)
  • Dad's Week Off (1997) (TV)
  • Police Academy: The Series (1997) (TV)
  • The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights (1999) (TV)

As Actor

  • Johnny Dangerously (1984) Dr. Zilman

Awards and nominations

1981 Writers Guild of America Award Won Variety, Musical or Comedy All Commercials... A Steve Martin Special (Shared with Jeffrey Barron, Earl Brown, Carmen Finestra, Denny Johnston, Sean Kelly, Steve Martin, Pat McCormick, Michael McManus, Pat Proft, and Mason Williams)
2002 BAFTA Awards Nominated Best International Lizzie McGuire (Shared with Susan Estelle Jansen)