Birthplace: Palm Springs, California
Academy Award-winning film director and screenwriter whose early films, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and Say Anything (1989), perfectly captured the sensibility and culture of suburban teenagers. His recent movies, Singles (1992) and Jerry Maguire (1996), are also known for their honesty and intelligence. He won a screenwriting Oscar for Almost Famous (2000), which he also directed. The film was based loosely on his early career as a music journalist working for Rolling Stone magazine at age 15.