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John Waters

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John Waters’ films are definitely not for everyone, but this cult director has crossed over to mainstream success - albeit on his terms. Born in the city that has been the setting for all of his films, Baltimore, Maryland, on April 22, 1946, John was a strange child, fascinated with car accidents and staging violent puppet shows for kids’ birthday parties. After an extremely brief stint at NYU, Waters, his 8mm camera and his various flamboyant and exhibitionist friends began making experimental and campy avant-garde films. In 1974, he released the midnight movie staple Pink Flamingos featuring his muse, a 300-pound drag queen named Divine. The shocking funny director continued to make off-beat comedies through the late '70s and early '80s, and in 1987 released the comedy Hairspray, starring a then-unknown Ricki Lake as well as Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono and, of course, Divine. The flick was a sleeper hit, followed with the 1950s-era musical Cry Baby starring Johnny Depp. Unusual casting selections, such as Patty Hearst, Traci Lords and Iggy Pop, and unusual subject matter continue to make John Waters an independent film favorite. Broadway adaptations of Hairspray and Cry Baby have brought  the “Pope of Trash” to a whole new mainstream audience.

John Waters

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