Jack Epps Jr.

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Jack Epps Jr.
Born (1949-11-03) November 3, 1949 (age 72)
Alma materMichigan State University
OccupationScreenwriter, author, educator
Known forCo-writer of Top Gun, Legal Eagles, The Secret of My Success

Jack Epps Jr. (born November 3, 1949) is an American screenwriter, author, and educator, known chiefly for such popular 1980s films as Top Gun,[1] Legal Eagles, and The Secret of My Success, which he wrote with longtime partner Jim Cash. Epps Jr. graduated from the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University, and he has since gone on to teach at the University of Southern California.[2]


Epps Jr. came to California to become a director, but he did not have the money or know-how to do so. He decided to first write a script and to hope that this would lead to directing. Partnering with Anderson House, they sold a script to Hawaii Five-O. He continued to work with House for a few years, before partnering with Jim Cash.[3]

Top Gun and later successes

After completing seven unproduced screenplays together, Epps Jr. and Cash produced Top Gun. This film went on to become the number-one worldwide box office hit in 1986. After this, they quickly wrote other screenplays that were produced, including Legal Eagles and The Secret of My Success. Epps has co-authored over 25 screenplays and eight motion pictures that he produced well into the following decade, including Turner & Hooch, Dick Tracy, and Anaconda.[4] He wrote for some of the most successful actors in the industry including Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, Tom Hanks, Warren Beatty and others.


Epps Jr. is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Writing for Screen and Television Division in the School of Cinematic Arts, at the University of Southern California.[5] Using techniques he had developed over his career and applied to classes, he authored a screenwriting manual, Screenwriting is Rewriting: The Art and Craft of Professional Revision, in 2016.

Awards and honors

Epps Jr. was awarded on an honorary doctorate of fine arts by Michigan State University at their 2009 commencement. He is also the recipient of the Michigan State University Spartans in Hollywood Award.[4] He is part of the Writer's Guild of America where he has been a member for three decades and he is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.



  1. ^ a b "Jack Epps Jr". IMDB. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Jack Epps Jr". Cinema USC. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Back to the 80s: Interview with Jack Epps Jr. screenwriter of Top Gun & more - Kickin' it Old School". Old School Blog. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  4. ^ a b "JACK EPPS JR". Angels in the Sky Movie. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Jack Epps, Jr.: Bloomsbury Publishing (US)".

External links

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