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John Waters

John WatersAKA John Waters Jr.

Born: 22-Apr-1946
Birthplace: Baltimore, MD

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Gay [1]
Occupation: Film Director, Actor
Party Affiliation: Democratic [2]

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Hairspray

At 12, John Waters subscribed to Variety, mastering its lexicon of filmmakers' language. He staged bizarre but hilarious puppet shows at children's' birthday parties. Inspired after reading Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and armed with an 8mm camera, Waters and several high school weirdoes formed a repertory troupe called the Dreamland Players, and began filming the most vile crap Waters could imagine. He has said that his goal was to smash every middle-class value that good citizens hold dear. His early works included Hag in a Black Leather Jacket and Eat Your Makeup, in which models are kidnapped and forced to, yes, eat their make-up.

Waters was expelled from New York University for smoking marijuana. In the school's official letter of expulsion, they told Waters' parents that he needed extensive psychiatric therapy, but Waters resumed making movies instead. In 1969, borrowing $2,000 from his father, Waters made his first full-length feature film, Mondo Trasho. In one memorable scene, the big-boned female impersonator Divine crawls through a pig wallow wearing a gold lame dress, while pigs copulate on camera. It got Waters arrested for conspiracy to commit indecent exposure. His other early films include hard-to-find gems like Multiple Maniacs (in which Mink Stole gives "rosaryjobs" to strangers in Catholic churches) and the scratch-and-sniff classic Polyester.

In Pink Flamingos, his 1972 classic about the battle to be named "Filthiest person alive", Divine is asked to describe her political positions. Scripted by Waters, her answer is often quoted as the director's manifesto: "Kill everyone now. Condone first degree murder. Advocate cannibalism. Eat shit. Filth is my politics -- filth is my life!" William S. Burroughs once called Waters "the pope of trash". Hairspray, his 1988 rock'n'roll comedy starring a fat Ricki Lake, was his first film to play outside of art house cinemas and midnight showings. Waters' other moderately mainstream films include Cry Baby, Pecker, and A Dirty Shame.

Now pushing 60, Waters has referred to himself as a "filth elder".


[1] Interview with Jonathan Ross, The Guardian, 17 November 1998: "I've always said that I was gay. I was on the cover of Gay News in 1972. I had a line in Female Trouble, that said that heterosexuals lead a sick and boring life, I don't know how pro-gay I could be."

[2] Stated in CourtTV conversation transcript, 13 March 2007.

Father: John Waters
Mother: Pat Waters
Brother: Steve Waters
Girlfriend: Mona Montgomery (actress, Roman Candles)
Boyfriend: John Liesenring (actor, Mondo Trasho)

    High School: Calvert Hall College High School, Baltimore, MD
    University:
New York University (expelled)

    Expelled from School
    Ordained by the Universal Life Church Minister
    Conspiracy to commit indecent exposure (1969)

    FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
    A Dirty Shame (12-Sep-2004)
    Cecil B. DeMented (17-May-2000)
    Pecker (11-Sep-1998)
    Serial Mom (13-Apr-1994)
    Cry-Baby (6-Apr-1990)
    Hairspray (16-Feb-1988)
    Polyester (29-May-1981)
    Desperate Living (27-May-1977)
    Female Trouble (4-Oct-1974)
    Pink Flamingos (17-Mar-1972)
    Multiple Maniacs (10-Apr-1970)
    Mondo Trasho (14-Mar-1969)

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    I Am Divine (9-Mar-2013) · Himself
    Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film (28-Apr-2012) · Himself
    Mansome (21-Apr-2012) · Himself
    Excision (21-Jan-2012)
    These Amazing Shadows (22-Jan-2011) · Himself
    Blank City (15-Feb-2010)
    Beautiful Darling (12-Feb-2010) · Himself
    William S. Burroughs: A Man Within (22-Jan-2010) · Himself
    Guest of Cindy Sherman (Apr-2008) · Himself
    Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (8-Nov-2007) · Himself
    Obscene (9-Sep-2007) · Himself
    Hairspray (20-Jul-2007)
    Jackass: Number Two (22-Sep-2006) · Himself
    This Filthy World (14-Sep-2006) · Himself
    This Film Is Not Yet Rated (25-Jan-2006) · Himself
    Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (13-May-2005) · Himself
    Inside Deep Throat (11-Feb-2005) · Himself
    Seed of Chucky (12-Nov-2004) · Pete Peters
    Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat (31-Mar-2002) · The Reverend
    The Cockettes (16-Jan-2002) · Himself
    Welcome to Hollywood (27-Oct-2000) · Himself
    Pie in the Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story (8-Sep-2000) · Himself
    Sweet and Lowdown (4-Sep-1999)
    Divine Trash (18-Jan-1998) · Himself
    Family Album (23-Oct-1994)
    Homer & Eddie (17-Aug-1989)
    Hairspray (16-Feb-1988)
    Something Wild (7-Nov-1986) · Used Car Guy



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