Alan Metter, director of big-screen films Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Moving and Back to School, has died at the age of 77. Metter’s son, Julian Max Metter, told The Hollywood Reporter his father died on June 7 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from a heart attack.
Alan Dennis “Butch” Metter was born in Sharon, Mass., on Dec. 19, 1942. After graduating in 1965 with a degree in Philosophy from the University of Arizona, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment.
Metter started off his career working as a copywriter at the advertising firm Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB). After writing TV spots for brands including Volkswagen, Jack in the Box and American Airlines, he directed one of his first projects, a commercial for Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra. He also went on to work with George Harrison and Olivia Newton-John, directing music videos for them.
Metter got his big break with a directing position for Girls Just Want to Have Fun, starring Sarah Jessica Parker. He continued to rise to prominence directing films like Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield, Moving with Richard Pryor, Working Tra$h featuring Ben Stiller and George Carlin and Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, the seventh and final installment in film series. Metter also directed Steve Martin’s one-hour TV comedy special The Winds of Whoopie on NBC.
After retiring from the entertainment industry in the early 2000s, Metter left Los Angeles and moved to Florida, where he met his partner Katherine O’Flynn Christian.
In addition to Christian, Metter is survived by his son, Julian Max Metter, daughter-in-law Kelsey Metter, granddaughters Jasmine and Kaiya Metter, Christian’s children, Gillian and Simon, and grandchildren, Rhys, Own and Jack.
The New York Film Academy, where Metter taught, paid tribute to his legacy and achievements in the entertainment industry in a Twitter post: “Today, we would like to remember American film director & former #NYFA instructor, Alan Metter. Well-known for comedy film ‘Back to School,’ he also produced & directed the 1983 TV special ‘The Winds of Whoopie’ for Steve Martin. Alan will be forever missed. Rest in Peace.”