John Samuel Waters Jr. (born April 22, 1946) is an American filmmaker, 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 comedy film Hairspray, which became an international success and turned into a hit Broadway musical, which has remained in almost continuous production. Waters has written and directed other successful films, including Polyester (1981), Cry-Baby (1990), Serial Mom (1994), Pecker (1998), and Cecil B. Demented (2000).
As an actor, Waters has appeared in films such as Sweet and Lowdown (1999), Seed of Chucky (2004), Excision (2012), and Suburban Gothic (2014). More recently, he performs in his touring one-man show, This Filthy World. Waters has often worked with actor Divine and his regular cast of the Dreamlanders.
In addition to filmmaking and acting, Waters also works as a visual artist and across different mediums such as installations, photography, and sculpture. In 2015, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for the spoken word version of his book Carsick, and again in 2020 for his book Mr. Know-It-All.
He is also known as John Samuel Waters and John Samuel, Jr. Waters.