John Waters

John Waters Headshot

Director • Writer • Artist

Birth Name: John Samuel Waters Jr.

Birth Date: April 22, 1946

Age: 78 years old

Birth Place: Baltimore, Maryland

One of the grandfathers of cult cinema, John Waters is best known for directing boundary-pushing independent comedies like "Pink Flamingos" (1972) and the original "Hairspray" (1988). Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1946, Waters was always drawn to strangeness in comedy, becoming so obsessed with puppets after seeing the film "Lili" (1953) that he began performing a violent Punch and Judy-style puppet show at the birthday parties of other children.

Gifted an 8mm movie camera by his grandmother, Waters made short films throughout his late-teens and early 20s, eventually directing his first feature, "Mondo Trasho" (1969) in 1969. Most of Waters' projects co-starred his longtime friend Glenn Milstead, better known for his drag name Divine, and "Mondo Trasho" was no exception. Waters' next film, "Pink Flamingos," made him a cause celebre in the dark corners of indie cinema, earning him a cult following for his subsequent films "Female Trouble" (1974) and "Desperate Living" (1978), which he would dub his "Trash Trilogy."

With his profile raised and his singular aesthetic catching on, Waters gained the backing to make more widely seen movies in the years to come, beginning with "Polyester" (1981), starring former child star Tab Hunter. The musical "Hairspray" (1988) was an even bigger indie hit-and was later remade on an even larger scale as a Broadway musical and subsequent film remake starring John Travolta in the late Divine's role. "Cry-Baby" (1990) gave Waters' the chance to direct a very young Johnny Depp, while "Serial Mom" (1994) had him working with legendary actress Kathleen Turner.

By the time Waters directed the shock-worthy comedy "A Dirty Shame" (2004) starring Tracey Ullman, established stars of the moment like Selma Blair and Johnny Knoxville jumped at the chance to work with him. As he aged into his 60s, Waters slowed his filmmaking output, publishing several books including Carsick, a diary of his hitch-hiking trip across America, and embarked on an ongoing series of speaking tours that showcased his increasingly cuddly, almost grandfatherly persona.

Credits

Little Richard: I Am EverythingStream

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2023
94%

Charles Band's Full Moon Freakshow

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2022

Living with ChuckyStream

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2022
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The Mystery of the Pink Flamingo

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2020

Infamous: A Conversation With John Waters

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2018

Nothing To Hide

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2018

Grattis Ingmar Bergman

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2018

Explained

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2018

Sickies Making Films

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2018

Dreamlanders: Little Taffy

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2018

Groundbreakers: Looker

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2017

Groundbreakers: The Dinner Party

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2017

Groundbreakers: Hidden Obsessions

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2017

Groundbreakers: Nothing To Hide II: Justine

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2017

Groundbreakers: Night Trips

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2016

Groundbreakers: Three Daughters

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2016

Groundbreakers: Amanda by Night

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2016

Groundbreakers: The Opening of Misty Beethoven

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2016

Groundbreakers: The Passions of Carol

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2016

Groundbreakers: Wanda Whips Wall Street

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2016

Groundbreakers: Nothing To Hide

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2016

Groundbreakers: Aunt Peg

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2016

Groundbreakers: Blonde Ambition

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2016

Groundbreakers: Roommates

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2016

Groundbreakers: Talk Dirty to Me

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2016

Groundbreakers: Fritz the Cat

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2016

Groundbreakers: Barbara Broadcast

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2016

Wall Writers

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2016

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

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2015

Rupaul's Drag Race: RuVealed

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2015

Future-Worm!Stream

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2015

Groundbreakers: Debbie Does Dallas

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2015

Groundbreakers: Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here

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2015

Groundbreakers: The Devil in Miss Jones

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2015

Groundbreakers: Candy Stripers

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2015

Groundbreakers: Deep Throat

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2015

Groundbreakers

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2015

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road ChipStream

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First Class Passenger
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2015
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Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

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2014

ClarenceStream

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2014

Suburban Gothic

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Cornelius
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2014

The BlacklistStream

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2013
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PBS NewsHour Weekend

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2013

The Last Impresario

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2013

Finding Your RootsStream

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2012

Playboy Morning Show

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2012

I Am Divine

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2012

Excision

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2012

Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film

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2012

George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight

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2010

The Project

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2009

Watch What Happens Live With Andy CohenStream

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2009

It Came From Kuchar

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2009

In the Gutter

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2008

The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels

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2008

Hollywood Shootout

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2007

The Drexel InterView

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2007

The Graham Norton ShowStream

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2007

The Graham Norton ShowStream

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2007

'Til Death Do Us Part

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2007

This Filthy World

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2006

The Colbert Report

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2005

My Name Is EarlStream

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Funeral Director
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2005
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The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

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2005

Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream

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2005

Inside Deep Throat

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2005

Tavis Smiley

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2004

Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea

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2004

Seed of ChuckyStream

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Sleazy Reporter
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2004
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A Dirty ShameStream

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2004
54%

A Dirty ShameStream

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2004
54%

Real Time With Bill MaherStream

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2003

Loose Ends

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2002

Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat

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The Reverend
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2002

Cecil B. Demented

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2000

Cecil B. Demented

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2000

Law & Order: Special Victims UnitStream

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Floyd
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1999
78%

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

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1999

Sweet and LowdownStream

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Mr. Haynes
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1999
77%

Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance

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1998

Divine Trash

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1998

Pecker

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1998

Pecker

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1998

Serial MomStream

Director
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1994
63%

Serial MomStream

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1994
63%

FrasierStream

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Roger
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1993
95%

Homicide: Life on the Street

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1993
91%

Cry BabyStream

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1990
72%

Cry BabyStream

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1990
72%

The SimpsonsStream

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John
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1989
85%

Homer & Eddie

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Robber No. 1
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1989

HairsprayStream

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1988
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HairsprayStream

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1988
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21 Jump StreetStream

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Mr. Bean
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1987

Something WildStream

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Used car guy
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1986
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Polyester

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1981

Polyester

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1981

Polyester

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1981

CBS News Sunday Morning

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1979

Desperate Living

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1977

Desperate Living

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1977

Desperate Living

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1977

Female Trouble

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1975

Female Trouble

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1975

Female Trouble

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1975

Female Trouble

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1975

Pink Flamingos

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1972
84%

Pink Flamingos

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1972
84%

Pink Flamingos

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1972
84%

Pink Flamingos

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1972
84%

Pink Flamingos

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1972
84%

The Diane Linkletter Story

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1970

The Diane Linkletter Story

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1970

The Diane Linkletter Story

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1970

The Diane Linkletter Story

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1970

The Diane Linkletter Story

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1970

Multiple Maniacs

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1970

Multiple Maniacs

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1970

Multiple Maniacs

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1970

Mondo Trasho

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1969

Mondo Trasho

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1969

Mondo Trasho

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1969

Mondo Trasho

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1969

Mondo Trasho

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1969

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