John Landis has been a popular (and occasoinally controversial) film director since the late 1970s when he found his first major success as director of National Lampoon's Animal House (which co-starred John Vernon). Before this, he supplemented his income by playing occasional small acting roles in productions such as Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Kelly's Heroes and Death Race 2000, and some TV guest-spots in shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man.
After Animal House, Landis went on to write and/or produce a string of popular and iconic films, such as The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London and Michael Jackson's music video, Thriller. Landis' career had a shadow cast over it when actor Vic Morrow and two child actors died in an accident on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie which led to Landis and several crew members facing criminal charges. Although they were ultimately aquitted of these charges, the accident resulted in revisions to child labor laws in California.