Born in 1957, Alan Ball is the youngest of the four Ball children to be brought up in Atlanta, Georgia. Ball attended the University of Florida and studied Theatre, majoring in Acting and Playwriting. After graduating, he moved to New York where he was employed as a magazine art director for Adweek and Inside PR whilst also working away at a number of scripts.
After much hard work, Ball finally had several of his plays produced in off-Broadway productions including The Amazing Adventures of Tense Guy, Your Mother's Butt and Made for a Woman. In 1991, Ball's break through came in the form of the Lucille Ball Festival of New American Comedy, where his play, The M Word successfully premiered. Perhaps his most loved and best-known play, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress followed two years later.
It was around this time that Ball's talents caught the eye of Hollywood sitcom producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner. After reading one of his plays, the two offered Ball the opportunity to serve as a scriptwriter and story editor for the sitcom Grace Under Fire. Ball took on the challenge and eventually rose through the ranks to become co-executive producer for another sitcom, Cybill.
During his time in sitcom, Ball was spending the early hours of each morning working on a dark comedy/drama that would, in several years time, be lauded as both a commercial and artistic success. The inspiration had come from a real-life incident where a teenager had shot a woman after becoming involved with her husband. In 1999, American Beauty won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Ball's expertise in capturing the beauty that lies within all things is perhaps what makes his writing style so intriguing, and so addictive. He is currently writing/producing Six Feet Under, a quirky television series which focuses on the lives of a family of morticians.