- Wrote for the horror fanzine Castle of Frankenstein; later became managing editor and a writer for the trade magazine Film Bulletin.
- His first film, made with friend and producer Jon Davison, was the seven-hour The Movie Orgy (1968), a compilation of movie trailers, commercials and clips that was popular on college campuses.
- Got his start in the film business working as an editor of trailers for B-movie producer Roger Corman's New World Pictures.
- Won Saturn Awards for Best Editing in 1978 for horror-comedy Piranha and Best Director for Gremlins in 1984; was nominated for Best Director in 1987 for sci-fi comedy Innerspace and in 1989 for Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
- Has cast character actor Dick Miller in many of his projects.
- In 2007, helped create Trailers From Hell, a Web site that features filmmakers' commentary on vintage movie trailers, mostly in the horror and science-fiction genres; the site has released several DVD collections since then.
- Joe Dante Sr. — Father
- Sylvia Dante — Wife
- Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia, PA