Photo of John Waters John Waters

While John Waters may claim that his films have no redeeming social value, a strong message of tolerance and empathy for society's outcasts runs through them all -- even the most exuberantly tasteless.

Born April 22, 1946, in Baltimore, Waters received an 8mm camera for his 17th birthday and immediately set about mocking all the values his elders held dear. Forming a company consisting of his oddball chums, Waters made his first feature, Mondo Trash, in 1969. A few years later, he completed his outré masterpiece Pink Flamingos, in which Divine, Mink Stole and David Lochary vie for the title of "World's Filthiest Person."

Eventually, Hollywood took notice, and Waters graduated to big-budget films such as Polyester, Hairspray, Serial Mom (with Kathleen Turner) and Pecker. Although his players have changed over time, Waters's playfully perverse vision has remained thankfully intact.

John Waters in Multiple Maniacs

Multiple Maniacs

1970 NR

The gloriously grotesque second feature directed by John Waters (Hairspray) is replete with all manner of depravity, from robbery to murder to one of cinema's most memorably blasphemous moments. Made on a shoestring budget in Waters' native Baltimore, with the filmmaker taking on nearly every technical task, this gleeful mockery of the peace-and-love ethos of its era features the Cavalcade of Perversion, a traveling show mounted by a troupe of misfits whose shocking proclivities are topped only by those of their leader: the glammer-than-glam, larger-than-life Divine (Pink Flamingos).

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  • John Waters in Hairspray Hairspray
  • John Waters in Serial Mom Serial Mom
  • John Waters in Polyester Polyester
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  • John Waters in Jackass: Number Two Jackass: Number Two
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  • John Waters in Starz Inside: In the Gutter Starz Inside: In the Gutter
  • John Waters in Starz Inside: Ladies or Gentlemen Starz Inside: Ladies or Gentlemen
  • John Waters in It Came from Kuchar It Came from Kuchar
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  • John Waters in Mangus! Mangus!
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  • John Waters in I Am Divine I Am Divine