John Samuel Waters Jr. (born April 22, 1946) is an American filmmaker, director, writer, actor and artist. Born and raised in Baltimore, Waters rose to prominence in the early 1970s for his transgressive cult films, including Multiple Maniacs (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble (1974). He wrote and directed the 1988 film Hairspray, which became an international success and turned into a hit Broadway musical which has remained in almost continuous production, and a film adaptation of the Broadway musical was released in July 2007. Waters has written and directed other successful films including Polyester (1981), Cry-Baby (1990), Serial Mom (1994), Pecker (1998) and Cecil B. Demented (2000).
In 2015, the British Film Institute celebrated Waters’ films with a retrospective in honor of his 50 year-filmmaking career. Later that year, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for the spoken word version of his book Carsick. As an actor, Waters has appeared in films such as Sweet and Lowdown (1999), Seed of Chucky (2004), Mangus! (2011), Excision (2012) and Suburban Gothic (2014). More recently, he performs in his ever-changing one-man show, This Filthy World.
In addition to filmmaking and acting, Waters also works as a visual artist and across different mediums such as installations, photography, and sculpture. He has published multiple collections of his journalistic exploits, screenplays, ruminations and artwork. Waters’ artwork exhibits regularly in galleries and museums around the world.
He is also known as John Samuel Waters and John Samuel, Jr. Waters.