Date of Birth: August 16, 1954
By now everyone who watched Cameron's sweep of the Oscars for Titanic knows that this Kapuskasing, Ontario, native is "king of the world."
Okay, it may not have been the most gracious or humble thing to say, but then Cameron has never been known for either of those qualities. In fact, he's known as a hard taskmaster whose crew "survive" his films. "I would never do anything as merciful as firing someone," he says. "For f-----g up, you have to stay till the end." As for those who accuse him of torturing crews and actors, he says: "That's my job."
The son of an engineer, he moved to the States in 1971 and majored in physics at the California State University. After graduating he supported himself by driving a truck while trying to make it as a screenwriter. His first professional film gig was as the art director, miniature-set builder, and process projection supervisor on B-movie king's Roger Corman's Battle Beyond the Stars. The following year (1981) he made an inauspicious debut as a director with Piranha II: The Spawning (1981). But better things were to come as 1984 saw him behind the camera for a film he also wrote—The Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and the woman who he eventually married in 1997, Linda Hamilton.
The Terminator was the first film he made in collaboration with his first wife, Gale Anne Hurd, and the two would go on to make several films together.
As the first director to film both a $100 million (True Lies) and a $200 million (Titanic) movie, Cameron says, "Every time I make a movie everybody says it's the most expensive film in the film industry. I have a responsibility to use my judgment and ability as a filmmaker to do that things that will get the studio their money back, and I take that responsibility seriously.
"I think the most important thing [for a good filmmaker] is mastering the art of getting your way without pissing off everyone in sight. I have about half mastered that one."
Since the success of Titanic, Cameron involved himself in making underwater documentaries, until Avatar, which was an immediate success at the box office, taking in billions worldwide and threatening to dethrone Titanic as the biggest box office champion of all time. For his work on the movie, Cameron won his second Golden Globe and received his second Academy Award nomination for directing. In 2012, Titanic was re-released in 3D, bringing the epic love story back to life once more on the big screen.
He has been married five times—while filming Titanic he fell in love with actress Suzy Amis, who had a small role in the movie, and subsequently divorced Hamilton. He has a daughter with Hamilton and three daughters with Amis, whom he married in 2000.
Filmography (director):Avatar 2 (2016)
Battle Angel (2011)
Terminator 3 (2002) (characters)
True Lies 2 (2002)
Spider-Man (2001) (story)
T2 3-D: Battle Across Time (1996)
Strange Days (1995) (story)
True Lies (1994)
Point Break (1991) (uncredited)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Abyss (1989)
Alien Nation (1988) (uncredited)
Aliens (1986) (also story)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
The Terminator (1984)