Phil Tucker (May 22, 1927 – November 30, 1985) was an American film director, writer, producer, and Film editor. While Tucker directed his first six feature films in the span of two years (while still in his mid-20s), he is best known for his first film, the science fiction B movie Robot Monster, often considered an example of "so bad it's good" film-making in the Ed Wood vein, and for the Lenny Bruce movie Dance Hall Racket.
In 1952 he was reportedly offered $300,000 to make a sympathetic biopic about Lucky Luciano.
In December 1953 he attempted suicide in response to the poor reception of Robot Monster and his subsequent inability to find work. According to Keep Watching The Skies! by Bill Warren, his attempted suicide was actually fueled by depression and a dispute with the film's distributor, who had allegedly refused to pay Tucker his contracted percentage of the film's profits.
There are further claims that after 1955, Tucker was blacklisted within the film industry, though he did go on to direct a number of other productions, including 1960's The Cape Canaveral Monsters. Year prior, Tucker directed Lenny Bruce and Bruce's wife Honey Harlow in 1953's Dance Hall Racket.
By the 1970s Tucker had established himself as a formidable film editor, finally escaping the stigma of his early directorial work. He contributed to such well-known films as Orca and the 1976 remake of King Kong, and remained in post-production throughout the rest of his career.
In addition to his love of film, Tucker had an avid interest in all things mechanical. He invented a hot air engine known as the Surge Turbine for which he was granted a US patent. Tucker built a prototype of the engine which he tried, unsuccessfully, to sell to the automobile industry as a more efficient alternative to the traditional internal combustion engine.