TEXAS CITY — Texas City native John Lee Hancock was a Stingaree long before he directed ”The Rookie” or stormed ”The Alamo.”
And in what may be a surprise to many the city’s most recognizable native to make a living in Hollywood didn’t much care for spending time on stage at Texas City High School.
Academics were his main concentration and after graduating from high school he went on to study law.
He gave up the law after four years to pursue a different career path. His work in film evolved from a love of the theater.
A former member of the Fountainhead Theater Company in Los Angeles he co-founded wrote and directed the plays ”Fullfed Beast” ”Riff For Emily” and ”Ten to Midnight.”
As part of his early days in the movie business he served as a location scout production coordinator and assistant director before making his feature debut as director and screenwriter of ”Vaya Con Dios” in 1991.
Hancock’s breakthrough came when he scripted Clint Eastwood’s ”A Perfect World” in 1993. He teamed up with the Hollywood legend again in 1998 with for the screen version of ”Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
In 2002 he directed the Disney movie ”The Rookie” and in 2004 showed the pride for his Texas roots when he wrote the screenplay and directed ”The Alamo.”
He has also made a name for himself in television. Among other television projects Hancock wrote and executive produced the CBS drama ”L.A. Doctors” and was the executive producer for the CBS show ”Falcone.”
He is working on a movie project based on the novel by Adrian McKinty ”Dead I Well May Be” which tells the tale of a street-savvy illegal immigrant from Ireland who lands a job as an Irish mob enforcer in New York.
His mom Sue Hancock said when she last spoke to her Hollywood movie maker and shaker son he was excited about the project.
Hancock said that he doesn’t get to come back to Texas City often enough but hasn’t succumbed to the big city mentality.
”I don’t know what Hollywood is” he said in a Daily News interview in 2004. ”I don’t socialize much. I’m just a regular guy with my wife and kids who lives in a neighborhood.”
A 1975 graduate of Texas City High School Hancock was better known for his actions on the football field. He was an all-district second team center as well as a member of the Stingarees swim team. He was also a member of National Honor Society so it was little surprise he was awarded the football team’s academic trophy his senior year.
His dad John Hancock was a longtime Texas City ISD coach and his mom worked in the district until she retired six years ago. Both still make their home in Texas City.