Date of Birth: July 13, 1957
Born in Palm Springs, California, Cameron Crowe began writing profiles and news stories about rock artists for Rolling Stone magazine at 15. After cutting high school to go on the road with Led Zeppelin for an article, he'd proved his writing chops to his editors. When they wanted a story about "The Kids"the youngsters currently eating up the day's music scene, Crowe was assigned the task of writing and researching the piece.
Crowe then spent much of 1979 at a high school, taking notes while hanging out with the students. What resulted was an article that turned into a book named Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Crowe's book became a bestseller and Universal Pictures hired him to write a screenplay for a film version to be directed by Amy Heckerling. Released in 1982, Fast Times was a hit and successfully launched the careers of Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Nicholas Cage. Crowe was nominated for Best Screen Adaption by the Writers Guild of America.
While its followup, The Wild Life (1984) was not met with the same success, 1989's Say Anything was. Starring John Cusack and Ione Skye, the film marked Crowe's directorial debut. The story of an average kickboxer who falls for his high school valedictorian achieved critical acclaim and cult status, with the image of Cusack holding up a ghettoblaster blaring Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" now an icon of 80's pop culture. With Singles (1992), Crowe graduated from the high school scene to chronicle the lives of people in their 20s. Using Seattle's then burgeoning music scene as a backdrop, the film tackled the interlocking fortunes of six residents in an apartment complex and starred Matt Dillion and Bridget Fonda.
A photograph of a football player and his agent was the initial inspiration for his next movie, Jerry Maguire (1996). It took over four years to develop, with much of the time devoted to firsthand research. Some 20 drafts and near terminal discouragement later, it finally made it to the screen and starred Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Renée Zellwegger. Focusing on a sports agent who has a moral ephiphany, is then fired and left with one client, the film earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.
Crowe turned to his own life for inspriation towards the film Almost Famous (2000). Focused on a high-school boy who is given the chance to write a story about an up-and-coming rock band in the 1970s. Critics and viewers were impressed by the film, and he soon received a Golden Globe award for Best Director.
Crowe is married to Nancy Wilson, formerly of the 80's band Heart. They have two children.