In terms of recognition, it has been a good year for Leo’s Class of ’76. Coach Holmes’ ’76 classmate, Dwayne Johnson-Cochran, recently received an NAACP Image Award for writing the screenplay for “Heist 88,” a Showtime original movie that received widespread critical acclaim. 

The plot, loosely based on true events, centers around a criminal mastermind who decides to pull off a final major caper before going to prison. So he recruits four eager young employees to steal $80 million from the bank where they work.

Courtney B. Vance stars, and his production company produced the film. In addition to his screenwriting credit, Johnson-Cochran has an on-screen role as a Catholic priest.

Dwayne Johnson-Cochran was an honor student and a student-council officer at Leo. He played football and baseball and wrote for the Oriole. After studying geology at UIC, he found his true calling when he was accepted into a Master’s program in filmmaking and film history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

He got his start as a filmmaker writing and producing commercials for Burrell Advertising. At WTTW, Chicago’s public-television outlet, he specialized in documentaries such as “Babies at Risk,” a study of infant mortality in Chicago, and “School Reform – Power to the Parents.”

Since moving to Los Angeles he has worked as writer, producer and director, making his directorial debut with “Love and Action in Chicago” for HBO. He also was co-creator of “Minor Adjustments,” a sitcom that ran on the NBC network. Johnson-Cochran has taught screenwriting at the USC Film School for more than a decade and has worked with film students in Asia, Africa and Europe through UNESCO, the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  

The Leo Family salutes Dwayne Johnson-Cochran on a milestone achievement in a distinguished career.