J. Michael Straczynski
July 17, 1954
A prolific writer who has written in a variety of mediums, J. Michael Straczynski began his professional career dabbling in stage, radio and spec scripts while working as a newspaperman at the Los Angeles Times in the early 1980s. He landed his first TV gig when one of his scripts was picked up by the people behind the celebrated "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" animated series. From there, he wrote for the female-aimed spin-off series "She-Ra: Princess of Power," the vehicle-heavy "Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors," and the enjoyably spooky "The Real Ghostbusters." After branching out from animation in the late '80s, he was hired to make over the popular but waning amateur-sleuth series "Murder, She Wrote" and increased the show's ratings by moving main character Jessica Fletcher to New York City. He also co-produced 22 episodes of the show. It was this experience and success that allowed him the opportunity to create what would become his signature project, the hugely immersive sci-fi saga "Babylon 5." The hit '90s series had a 110-episode run, including five offshoot TV movies. Straczynski extended the franchise with "Crusade," a suspenseful spin-off series that, like its predecessor, was meant to unfold over a five-year run before it was cut short in its first season. He broke into film writing with the script for Clint Eastwood's wrenching missing-child drama "Changeling" ('08) and continues to work frequently in the comic-book genre.