M. Night Shyamalan

Filmmaker

Born: 6 August 1970
Birthplace: Pondicherry, India
Best known as: The writer and director of The Sixth Sense

Name at birth: Manoj Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan is a filmmaker whose suspense thriller The Sixth Sense (1999) was a surprise sensation. Raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Shyamalan studied filmmaking at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. His first two feature films, Praying with Anger (1992) and Wide Awake (1998, with Rosie O'Donnell) didn't earn much at the box office, but The Sixth Sense (starring Bruce Willis) was one of that year's top earners, and its surprise twist ending made it surely the year's most-discussed film. The Sixth Sense also launched the career of young actor Haley Joel Osment and received six Oscar nominations (including two for Shyamalan). Although his next features failed to live up to the high expectations of many critics, they proved him to be a skilled writer and director and furthered his reputation as a specialist in supernatural dramas. These other films include Unbreakable (2000, with Willis and Samuel L. Jackson), Signs (2002, starring Mel Gibson, The Village (2004, with Sigourney Weaver and Adrien Brody), and The Lady in the Water (2006, with Paul Giamatti).

Extra credit: Shyamalan adopted the nickname "Night" while in college... He wrote the screenplay for the 1999 Geena Davis movie Stuart Little... Shyamalan proved his marketing savvy with a "guerilla" promotional stunt for The Village, in which he participated in a fake documentary for the Sci-Fi Channel called The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan (2004).

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