Photo of Paul Thomas Anderson Paul Thomas Anderson

A writer-director with a distinctive eye and a love of complex themes, Paul Thomas Anderson was born on June 26, 1970, in Studio City, Calif., to a voiceover artist father best known as the announcer on "The Love Boat."

At 12, Anderson started using a Betamax camera to make amateur films; by the time he was 23, he had premiered his first short, "Cigarettes and Coffee" (1993), at Sundance, which he later expanded into his first full-length feature, Hard Eight (1996).

Anderson eventually caught Hollywood's attention with Boogie Nights (1997), an unconventional look at the porn industry that garnered three Oscar nods. Magnolia (1999) and Punch-Drunk Love (2002) would follow, but Anderson wouldn't be courted by the Academy again until There Will Be Blood (2007), an epic tale of greed that earned eight nominations, including honors for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Paul Thomas Anderson in The Master

The Master

2012 R

Freddie, a volatile, heavy-drinking veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, finds some semblance of a family when he stumbles onto the ship of Lancaster Dodd, the charismatic leader of a new "religion" he forms after World War II.

  • Paul Thomas Anderson in Inherent Vice Inherent Vice
  • Paul Thomas Anderson in Boogie Nights Boogie Nights
  • Paul Thomas Anderson in Punch-Drunk Love Punch-Drunk Love
  • Paul Thomas Anderson in There Will Be Blood There Will Be Blood
  • Paul Thomas Anderson in Magnolia Magnolia
  • Paul Thomas Anderson in A Decade Under the Influence A Decade Under the Influence
  • Paul Thomas Anderson in The Henry Rollins Show: Season 1 The Henry Rollins Show: Season 1