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Alan Ball
BALL Allan-24x30-2008b.jpg
Ball in 2008
Alan Erwin Ball

(1957-05-13) May 13, 1957 (age 65)
Education University of Georgia, Florida State University
Occupation Screenwriter, director, producer
Notable work
American Beauty (1999)
Six Feet Under (2001–2005)
True Blood (2008–2014)
Banshee (2013–2016)
Television Grace Under Fire, Cybill
Partner(s) Peter Macdissi

Alan Erwin Ball (born May 13, 1957) is an American writer, director, and producer for television, film, and theater.

Ball wrote the screenplay for American Beauty, for which he earned an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. He also created the series Six Feet Under and True Blood, works for which he earned an Emmy as well as awards from the Writers, Directors, and Producers Guilds of America. He was an executive producer on the Cinemax television series Banshee. He also wrote and directed the film Uncle Frank.

Early life

Ball was born in Marietta, Georgia, to Frank and Mary Ball, respectively an aircraft inspector and a homemaker. His older sister, Mary Ann, was killed in a car accident when Ball was 13; he was in the passenger seat at the time. He attended high school in Marietta before going to college at the University of Georgia and Florida State University. Ball graduated from Florida State in 1980 with a degree in theater arts.

After college, he began work as a playwright at the General Nonsense Theater Company in Sarasota, Florida.

Film and television career

Ball broke into television as a writer and story editor on the situation comedies Grace Under Fire and Cybill.

Ball has written three films, American Beauty (1999), Towelhead (2007) and Uncle Frank (2020), the latter of which he also produced and directed. He is also the creator, writer and executive producer of the HBO drama series Six Feet Under and True Blood. Ball was the showrunner for True Blood for its first five seasons.

In 2010 Ball began work on a television adaptation of the crime noir novel The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston, to be titled All Signs of Death. In December 2010, after several months of pre-production, HBO cancelled production on the project.

Ball was also one of the executive producers of the Cinemax series Banshee.

In July 2016, it was announced that Ball's family drama Here and Now had been ordered to series by HBO. Starring Tim Robbins and Holly Hunter, the show was cancelled in April 2018 after one ten-episode season.

Personal life

Ball has discussed his Buddhist faith in numerous interviews, noting how it has influenced his filmmaking. In an interview with, Ball commented on the plastic bag scene in American Beauty, stating: "I had an encounter with a plastic bag! And I didn't have a video camera, like Ricky does... There's a Buddhist notion of the miraculous within the mundane, and I think we certainly live in a culture that encourages us not to look for that." Ball has also discussed how his Buddhism has shaped themes in Six Feet Under and True Blood, both of which he has substantially contributed to.

Ball is gay and has been called "a strong voice for [the] LGBT community". In 2008 he made Out magazine's annual list of the 100 most impressive gay men and women.


For his work in television and film, Ball has received critical acclaim and numerous awards and nominations, including an Academy Award, an Emmy a Golden Globe, and awards from the Writers, Directors, and Producers Guilds.



Grace Under Fire
Title Year Credit Notes
"The Road to Paris, Texas" 1994
  • Teleplay
  • Story, with Brett Butler
"Grace vs. Wade" 1994 Writer
"A Night at the Opera" 1995 Writer
"Memphis Bound" 1995 Writer, with Marc Flanagan
Title Year Credit Notes
"Zing!" 1995 Teleplay, with Lee Aronsohn
"To Sir, with ..." 1996 Writer
"Three Women and a Dummy" 1996 Writer
"Venice or Bust" 1996 Writer
"Buffalo Gals" 1996 Writer
"Name That Tune" 1997 Teleplay, with Michael Langworthy
"Mother's Day" 1997 Story
"Regarding Henry" 1997 Story Season 4 premiere
"Halloween" 1997 Teleplay, with Mark Hudis
"Where's a Harpoon When You Need One?" 1997 Teleplay, with Kim Friese
"Bakersfield" 1998 Story
"Oh Brother!" 1998 Teleplay, with Mark Hudis
"Dream Date" 1998 Story
Oh, Grow Up
Title Year Credit Notes
"Pilot" 1999 Writer Series premiere
"Good Pop, Bad Pop" 1999 Writer
Six Feet Under
Title Year Credit Notes
"Pilot" 2001
  • Writer
  • Director
Series premiere
"An Open Book" 2001 Writer
"Knock Knock" 2001
  • Writer
  • Director
Season 1 finale
"In The Game" 2002 Writer Season 2 premiere
"Someone Else's Eyes" 2002 Writer
"The Last Time" 2002 Director Season 2 finale
"Perfect Circles" 2003 Writer Season 3 premiere
"Nobody Sleeps" 2003 Writer, with
Rick Cleveland
"I'm Sorry, I'm Lost" 2003 Director Season 3 finale
"Can I Come Up Now?" 2004 Writer
"Untitled" 2004 Director Season 4 finale
"Everyone's Waiting" 2005
  • Writer
  • Director
Series finale
Anna Paquin & Alan Ball (7605747414)
Ball with True Blood star Anna Paquin in July 2012
True Blood
Title Year Credit Notes
"Strange Love" 2008
  • Writer
  • Director
Series premiere
"The First Taste" 2008 Writer
"Mine" 2008 Writer
"You'll Be the Death of Me" 2008 Director Season 1 finale
"Shake and Fingerpop" 2009 Writer
"Frenzy" 2009 Writer
"I Got a Right to Sing the Blues" 2010 Writer
"Evil is Going On" 2010 Writer Season 3 finale
"If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?" 2011 Writer
"Spellbound" 2011 Writer
"Hopeless" 2012 Writer
"Save Yourself" 2012 Writer Season 5 finale
Here and Now
Title Year Credit Notes
"Eleven Eleven" 2018
  • Writer
  • Director
Series premiere
"It's Coming" 2018 Writer
"It's Here" 2018 Writer


Title Year Credit Notes
American Beauty 1999
  • Writer
  • Co-producer
Towelhead 2007
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 2017
  • Executive producer
Television film
Uncle Frank 2020
  • Screenwriter
  • Director


Title Year Credit Notes
Five Women Wearing the Same Dress 1993
  • Playwright
All That I Will Ever Be 2007
  • Author
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