Joseph Hill Whedon is an American filmmaker, composer, and comic book writer. He is the founder of Mutant Enemy Productions, co-founder of Bellwether Pictures, and is best known as the creator of several television series: the supernatural drama Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003) and its spinoff Angel (1999–2004), the short-lived space Western Firefly (2002), the Internet musical miniseries Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008), the science fiction drama Dollhouse (2009–2010), the Marvel Cinematic Universe series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013–2020), and the science fiction drama The Nevers (2021).
After beginning his career in sitcoms, Whedon wrote the poorly-received horror comedy film Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) – which he later adapted into the acclaimed television series of the same name – co-wrote the Pixar animated film Toy Story (1995), and wrote the science fiction horror film Alien Resurrection (1997). After achieving success as a television showrunner, Whedon returned to film to write and direct the Firefly film continuation Serenity (2005), co-write and produce the horror comedy film The Cabin in the Woods (2012), and write and direct the Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing (2012). For the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Whedon wrote and directed the ensemble superhero film The Avengers (2012) and its sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). He also co-wrote the DC Extended Universe superhero film Justice League (2017), for which he also served as director for re-shoots, replacing Zack Snyder (who retained directorial credit).
Whedon has also worked as a composer (notably for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode “Once More, with Feeling” and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog) and comic book writer, both for comic book continuations of television series he created and for established franchises, such as Astonishing X-Men.
Since 2020, multiple actors have accused Whedon of abusive behavior on film and television sets, which he has denied. WarnerMedia investigated Justice League actor Ray Fisher’s allegations and announced that it had taken “remedial action” in December 2020.
Born in New York City and raised on the Upper West Side as Joseph 1 Hill Whedon, he would later become a third-generation TV writer as a son of Tom Whedon, a screenwriter for Alice in the 1970s and The Golden Girls in the 1980s, and a grandson of John Whedon, who worked on The Donna Reed Show in the 1950s and The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s, as well as writing for radio shows such as The Great Gildersleeve. His mother, Ann Lee (née Jeffries) Stearns, originally from Kentucky, was an activist and a teacher at Riverdale Country School as Lee Whedon, in addition to being an aspiring novelist. Jessica Neuwirth, a former student of Stearns, has often cited her as her inspiration, describing her as a “visionary feminist”. His parents both acted, and appeared in a play together at the Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club. The family would spend vacations reciting Shakespeare.
Whedon is the younger sibling of Samuel and Matthew Whedon and the older sibling of writers Jed and Zack Whedon. Whedon stated that his parents expected constant creativity from their children and were often verbally demeaning and gave them the silent treatment if he and his brothers were not amusing, entertaining and/or simply disagreed with them. He stated, however, that he was more afraid of his older brothers who constantly bullied him. At the age of 5, a friend (age 4) died by drowning in a pond on the Whedon’s upstate property. His parents divorced when he was 9. Whedon cited his childhood trauma as having a direct influence in his relationships, addictions and behaviors into adulthood and has stated that he suffers from complex post traumatic stress disorder.
At a young age, he showed great interest in British television series shows like Masterpiece and Monty Python. Whedon attended Riverdale Country School in New York City where his mother taught history. At age 15, he spent three years at Winchester College, a boarding school in England. There, taking note of omnipresent bullying, he concluded, “it was clear to me from the start that I must take an active role in my survival”. Whedon graduated from Wesleyan University in 1987, where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters in 2013. There, he also studied under renowned academic Richard Slotkin. It was at Wesleyan he would meet Jeanine Basinger, a film scholar who became his mentor. After leaving Wesleyan, Whedon conceived the first incarnation of Buffy Summers, “Rhonda, the Immortal Waitress”.
In 2013, Whedon said that he is a workaholic. This arose during the time that followed the completion of Much Ado About Nothing, which was made in the span of a two-week vacation from The Avengers, and after making the pilot for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. amidst the pre-production for Avengers: Age of Ultron. “It is actually a problem. Sometimes it’s adorable … and sometimes it’s not … Not to get all dark and weird, but it is something I need to address.” He has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in its Writers’ branch since 2017.
In 1995, Whedon married Kai Cole, an architect, producer and co-founder of Bellwether Pictures. They have two children together. Whedon and Cole separated in 2012 and divorced in 2016. In 2017, Cole claimed that Whedon had repeatedly been unfaithful to her and that he “does not practice what he preaches” in regard to feminism.
Whedon married Canadian artist Heather Horton in February 2021.
Religious and philosophical views
Whedon has identified himself as an atheist. In an interview with The A.V. Club Whedon elaborated on his nonbelief in gods. Whedon has identified as an absurdist and existentialist. A committed humanist, Whedon was presented with the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism by the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University in 2009. He has spoken about existentialism, explaining in detail how it, and more specifically Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea, was used as a basis for the Firefly episode “Objects in Space”. He called it “the most important book” he ever read, and said it was given to him right after he saw Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, whose impact, he recalls, had made him an existentialist.
In July 2012, at the San Diego Comic-Con International, in response to one woman who noted the anti-corporate themes in many of his films and asked him to give his economic philosophy in 30 seconds or less, Whedon spoke out against capitalism, saying that America is “turning into Tsarist Russia”.
Endorsing Barack Obama in the 2012 United States presidential election, Whedon satirically equated Mitt Romney’s future as president with a zombie apocalypse, quipping, “Romney is ready to make the deep rollbacks in health care, education, social services and reproductive rights that will guarantee poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, disease, rioting—all crucial elements in creating a nightmare zombie wasteland.”
In 2015, Whedon signed a petition as part of a political campaign calling for Elizabeth Warren to run for President of the United States.
In January 2017, after actress Nicole Kidman publicly suggested that America should accept that Donald Trump is president, Whedon tweeted a photograph of plastic puppet Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward alongside an image of Kidman, an action some interpreted as mocking and objectifying Kidman’s physical appearance. That same month, Whedon also received criticism for reportedly comparing Ivanka Trump to a dog and for wishing that Paul Ryan would be raped to death by a rhinoceros.Referring to Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner and Trump, he tweeted: “He’s a Voldemort in training, & unlike the Pekingese he married under, can play the long game.” Whedon stated that he had been referring to Donald Trump. In April 2017, Whedon took a shot at Republicans by criticizing the physical appearance of teenage cancer survivors who were visiting then–Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. He later apologized on Twitter.
Joss Whedon Age Wife Affairs Biography & More
|Birth Name:||Joseph Hill Joss Whedon|
|Date of birth (2023)||June 23, 1964|
|Age of 2023||58 years|
|Professions||American filmmaker, (Screenwriter, Director & Producer|
|Height:||In inches 5’10”|
In Centimeters 178 cm
|Siblings:||Jed Whedon, Matthew Whedon, Samuel Whedon, Zack Whedon|
|Children:||Arden Cole, Squire Cole|
|Birth Place:||New York, New York, United States|
|Founder/Co-Founder:||Mutant Enemy Productions, Bellwether Pictures|
|Per month salary||$1.32 Millions|
|Net Worth:||$100 Million|
- He started off as a staff writer for the 1989-1990 sitcom ‘Roseanne’, where he was the writer and also the producer. The same year, he also directed and wrote for the show, ‘Parenthood’.
- He wrote the script for ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, which released in 1992, starring Kristy Swanson, Hilary Swank and Donald Sutherland. The television adaptation of the same was yet to be made.
- In 1994, he wrote the script for two films; ‘Speed’ and ‘The Getaway’; both of which became blockbuster hits and won a number of awards. His career catapulted to success the following year, when he was asked to pen the script for the films, ‘Waterworld’ and ‘Toy Story’.
- In 1997, his most prized work ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ was written and directed by him as a television series. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendan and Alyson Hannigan, the show had a successful run with a total of 144 episodes. The same year, he penned the script for ‘Alien Resurrection’.
- In 1999, he wrote, directed and even co-produced another one of his pet projects ‘Angel’ that earned him widespread critical acclaim. The show was a spin-off from the original ‘Buffy’ series and was released on the ‘WB’ channel.
- The new millennium saw him working on a number of projects including, ‘Titan A.E.’ and ‘X-Men’.
- In 2001, he wrote the script for the movie, ‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire’. The following year, he wrote, directed and co-produced the television series, ‘Firefly’, which gathered a cult status.
- In 2004, he was working on the animated series for ‘Buffy’, which never took off. The next year saw him writing the script for the film, ‘Serenity’, which he also happened to direct. Both ‘Firefly’ and ‘Serenity’ gained the top two spots in the poll conducted by New Scientist magazine, ‘The World’s Best Space Sci-Fi Ever’. He also released a series of online shorts, titled ‘R. Tam Sessions’.
- In 2005, he released the three-issue comic miniseries, ‘Serenity: Those Left Behind’ and the second comic book series, ‘Serenity: Better Days’ released three years later.
- In 2009, he wrote, directed and co-produced the American sci-fi television series, ‘Dollhouse’, which ran only for two seasons, but was a successful show till the time it ran.
- 2010-2011 proved to be an extremely busy year for the screenwriter/director as he directed one episode of the hit musical, ‘Glee’. He also went on to write the script for one of the biggest blockbusters of the year 2011; ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’, based on ‘The Avengers’ comics.
- In 2012, he penned the script and produced the thriller flick ‘The Cabin in the Woods’. He also wrote and directed the film, ‘The Avengers’, which went on to make waves at the box-office.
- Year 2013 began with him penning, directing and co-producing the television show, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ and for the films, ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ and ‘In Your Eyes’.
Awards & Achievements
- He won the Eisner Award for ‘Best Continuing Series’ for ‘Astonishing X-Men’, in 2006.
- He won the Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Special Class- Short-format Live-action Entertainment Program’ for ‘Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog’, in 2009.
- He was presented with the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in ‘Cultural Humanism’ by Harvard University, in 2009.
- He won the Volta Award for ‘Contribution to Film’, in 2013.
- He won the Bram Stoker Award for ‘Superior Achievement in Screenplay’, which he shared with Drew Goddard, for ‘The Cabin in the Woods’, in 2013.
- He won the 13th Belfast Film Festival Audience Award for ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, in 2013.
This popular screenwriter/director usually works on strong supernatural or sci-fi themes and always features a powerful female lead in most of his works.
|Year||Award||Category||Title of work||Result||Ref.|
|1995||Academy Awards||Best Original Screenplay||Toy Story||Nominated|
|2000||Emmy Awards||Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series||Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode: “Hush”||Nominated|
|2006||Eisner Awards||Best Continuing Series||Astonishing X-Men||Won|
|2008||Best New Series||Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight||Won|
|Best Digital Comic/Webcomic||Sugarshock!||Won|
|2009||Bradbury Award||Outstanding Dramatic Presentation||—||Won|
|Emmy Awards||Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program||Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog||Won|
|2013||Saturn Awards||Best Writing||The Cabin in the Woods||Nominated|
|Best Director (Saturn)||The Avengers||Won|
|Empire Awards||Best Director (Empire)||Nominated|