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Updated: January 25, 2022

Irwin Allen (June 12, 1916) was a television and film producer nicknamed "The Master of Disaster" for his work in the disaster film genre. He was also notable for creating a number of memorable and popular television series.

Allen was born in New York City. In 1952, he won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for The Sea Around Us. Allen's film credits include The Animal World (1956), the critically-panned The Story of Mankind (1957), The Big Circus (1959), The Lost World (1960), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961), which later became the basis of his TV series of the same name, and Five Weeks In a Balloon (1962).

In the 1960s Allen moved into television as a producer and was responsible for series such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (19641968), Lost in Space (19651968), The Time Tunnel (19661967), Land of the Giants (19671970) and The Swiss Family Robinson (19751976). There is also a movie, City Beneath the Sea (1971), intended as a pilot for a new series, using many of the props from Voyage. Allen's science-fiction series became notorious for their inclusion of absurd science and an emphasis on the juvenile 'sci-fi' element.

In the 1970s Allen returned to cinema screens and was the most popular name associated with the decade's fad for the disaster film genre. Allen produced the hugely successful The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974), which he also co-directed. He directed-produced The Swarm (1978), and produced / directed Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979) and When Time Ran Out (1980).

In the late 1970s / 1980s Allen sporadically returned to TV with mini-series like The Return of Captain Nemo / The Amazing Captain Nemo (1978) and a star-studded version of Alice in Wonderland (1985). He was planning on making a star studded musical version of Pinocchio, but a decline in health caused an early retirement in 1986 after his last film made (Outrage!).

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