(Wesley Earl Craven)
director, producer, screenwriter
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio
A humanities professor turned horror-film maker, he is best known for creating the Nightmare on Elm Street series, which features Freddie Krueger, a killer with razor-like talons who stalks small-town teenagers in their dreams. His subsequent movies include The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), The People Under the Stairs (1992), Scream (1996), and Scream 2 (1997). His career took a dramatic turn as director of the 1999 release of biopic Music of the Heart, starring Meryl Streep.