What do Greece, New Orleans, Oklahoma, movies, laughter, screenplays and teaching have in common? The answer is simple.
Andy has been a teacher of film and literature, particularly comedy, and also an award winning screenwriter whose scripts include Brad Pitt’s first feature film (Dark Side of the Sun, 1988). Andy began his teaching odyssey at Athens College in Greece and fell in love with teaching—and with Greece. Two years later he returned to the States and obtained an MA in Literature from Colgate University and a PhD in Comparative Literature and Film Studies from the University of Illinois (1973). Afterwards, he returned to Greece to teach both film studies and English at Deree College in Athens, 1974-76.
He became more and more involved in teaching film and literature courses at the University of New Orleans (1977-89) and at Loyola University, New Orleans (1990-1998), and spent two years as Chairman of Film at Brooklyn College (1980-82). He also began writing and publishing books related to film and screenwriting, Greek culture and several autobiographical works, including Writing the Character Centered Screenplays, The Films of Theo Angelopoulos: Cinema of Contemplation, The Films of George Roy Hill, Bones in the Sea: Life on a Greek Island, and Laughing Out Loud: Writing the Comedy Centered Screenplay. As of 2015 he has published 30 books and countless essays and written 30 screenplays (unfortunately, not all scripts get turned into films).
His life moved between returning to Greece, where he’s led 20 summer study tours over the past 35 years, and teaching at The University of Oklahoma as the Jeanne H. Smith endowed Professor of Film & Media Studies for the past 18 years. Andy married Odette in 1982 and has a son, Sam, and a daughter Caroline, both of whom work making Hollywood films in New Orleans. His oldest son, Philip, from his first marriage with Liz, is an actor and father to Andy’s two grandsons. Comedy has been central to Andy in life and teaching from Aristophanes to Monty Python and Tina Fey—and medical studies show that those who laugh live longer!