Mark L. Lester

For the actor born in 1958, see Mark Lester.
Mark L. Lester
Born (1946-11-26) November 26, 1946
United States
Occupation Film director, film producer, screenwriter

Mark L. Lester (born November 26, 1946) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer.[1] He is best known for his work in genre cinema, including the cult action film Class of 1984, the Stephen King-adaptation Firestarter (1984), the Arnold Schwarzenegger action film Commando (1985), and the action-comedy Armed and Dangerous (1986), starring John Candy, Eugene Levy, and Meg Ryan.


After his debut in 1970 with the film Twilight of the Mayas, he went on to make his mark with Steel Arena and memorable drive-in fare Truck Stop Women and Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw. In 1979, he jumped on the disco bandwagon with Roller Boogie starring Linda Blair, to modest success. He then made the exploitation action crime-thriller Class of 1984, which was a source of controversy at the time of release, but has since gained cult status.

He entered the mainstream in 1984 with Stephen King's Firestarter and had his biggest hit in 1985 with Commando, an Arnold Schwarzenegger action film that grossed over $57 million worldwide. He also directed and produced his sole comedy, Armed and Dangerous starring John Candy, Eugene Levy and Meg Ryan in 1986. In 1990, he directed Class of 1999, a loose sequel to Class of 1984. Then in 1991, he directed the cult classic Showdown in Little Tokyo starring Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee.

He also founded American World Pictures, an independent production and distribution company. Recent films include The Base, an action film; the thrillers Blowback and Hitman's Run; and for TV, Pterodactyl (produced for the Sci Fi Channel). In 2012, after getting a divorce from Dubovsky, he formed a new distribution company called Titan Global Entertainment.

In January 2013, almost 10 years after directing his last picture, Lester helmed the film Poseidon Rex on location in Belize. The production was disrupted briefly when its lead, Corin Nemec was severely injured during a boating accident while the Belizean Coast Guard was transporting the cast to set.[2] He was replaced by Charmed co-star, Brian Krause.[3]

Other credits include Night of the Running Man, Extreme Justice, and Stunts.

Personal life

Lester married Dana Dubovsky, who he now works with and had two children, Jason and Justin. He also has a daughter, Janessa (James), who is a musician and singer-songwriter, from a prior relationship.

Selected filmography


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