Born: 20 June 1968
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas
Best known as: Filmmaker who did Desperado and Spy Kids
With $7,000 and guts to spare, Robert Rodriguez made the movie El Mariachi (1992), an action western that made him a star at the Sundance Film Festival and got him a deal with Columbia Pictures. Since then he has established himself as a filmmaker who can deliver mainstream successes from outside of Hollywood (he has a studio near Austin, Texas). By the end of the 1990s he was famous for inventive movies with over-the-top violence: He made Desperado (1995), a sequel to El Mariachi that made American celebrities of Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek); he directed From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), one of George Clooney's early starring roles (written by and co-starring Rodriguez's pal Quentin Tarantino); and he directed the teen horror flick The Faculty (1998, with Elijah Wood and Usher). He then surprised audiences and struck gold with a trio of family movies, Spy Kids (2001), Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002) and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003, all starring Banderas). The success of those movies allowed Rodriguez to build studios near his home in Texas, where he made the digitally-enhanced version of Frank Miller's Sin City (2005, starring Jessica Alba). For the 2007 Grindhouse project he did with Tarantino, Rodriguez directed Planet Terror, a zombie invasion movie starring Rose McGowan. He also produced the 2010 horror filmPredators (starring Adrien Brody and Topher Grace) and directed the 2010 action movie Machete (with Michelle Rodriguez, no relation).
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