“The most joy I have in life, apart from my marriage and my seven-month-old twin boys, is to observe people’s behavior and be the fly on the wall. To just sit in a Denny’s or watch people unguarded on the street and then maybe someday put that up on the screen and make people recognize something real about life...well, that’s my biggest privilege, and I love it.” Cameron Crowe
Cameron Crowe propped up his status as a talented helmer/screenwriter through the autobiographical drama Almost Famous (2000), winning him an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award. Starting out as a writer, Crowe found his path to success after writing the screenplay of the teen romantic comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), which received rave reviews from the viewers and critics alike. After doing several movie projects, like The Wild Life (1984) and Say Anything (1989), the filmmaker stood proud with his romantic comedy Jerry Maguire (1996, won a People’s Choice Award and earned an Oscar nomination). Crowe, who once was nominated for a Grammy for his album notes in Bob Dylan’s Biograph (1986), also received a DGA nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures in 2001.
Apart from his film works, Crowe also directed Kate Beckinsale and Orlando Bloom in a 2002 Gap TV commercial titled Denim Invasion. During August 30-September 9, 2006, the moviemaker will be a member of the international jury for the 63rd Venice Film Festival who will select the winner of Golden Lion prize for best film. As for his family life, Crowe is married to Nancy Wilson, and is the father of twin sons.
Childhood and Family:
Born on July 13, 1957 in Palm Springs, California, Cameron Bruce Crowe is the last child of three to James Crowe (real estate agent) and Alice Marie Crowe (college teacher). He has two sisters, Cynthia Lynn Crowe (born in 1956) and another one that died when he was young. The family lived in Indio before finally moving to San Diego.
Skipping two grades at the elementary school, the intelligent boy studied at the Indio High School and transferred to the University of San Diego High School, where he graduated at the age of 15. During his high school time, Cameron joined school debate team, wrote for school newspaper and even submitted articles for famous magazines and newspapers. He then briefly attended San Diego City College.
Cameron was introduced to his future wife, Nancy Wilson (singer, guitarist, songwriter of rock group Heart), by Pearl Jam manager Kelly Curtis, and they began seeing each other in 1982. The couple walked down the aisle on July 27, 1986, and on January 23, 2000, they welcomed twin sons named William James Crowe and Curtis Wilson Crowe.
“I’m proudest of the fact that I’ve been able to make a few movies in the studio system that are slightly unorthodox and personal. But it’s never quite as easy as you dream that it could be.” Cameron Crowe
When he was 13, Cameron Crowe wrote music reviews for an underground publication called the San Diego Door. He later began submitting articles to popular magazines and newspapers, like Creem, Penthouse, Playboy, Crawdaddy, Music World, Circus and the Los Angeles Times. After high school graduation, he met the editor of Rolling Stone magazine, Ben Fong-Torres, and finally worked in the international magazine as a Contributing Editor and then as an Associate Editor. There, he profiled many music celebrities, including Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton.
Almost at the same time, Crowe checked out the film industry and appeared as an extra in Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind (1972). He also had a small part as the delivery boy in American Hot Wax (1978) before making a sensation with his writing.
In 1979, Cameron went undercover as a high school student and did research for a book on teenagers, resulting in the bestseller “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Soon, Universal Studios asked him to make it into a screenplay for the teen movie with the same title.
Released in 1982, the offbeat romantic comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High centered on the life of a group of California teenagers, played by Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates and Forest Whitaker. For his brilliant screenwriting work in the successful film, Crowe received The Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Screen Adaptation. As the follow-up of his booming Fast Times, he wrote and produced the sequel The Wild Life (1984, also appeared as a cop) and served as the creative consultant for the series “Fast Times” (1986).
Continuing his exploration, Crowe penned liner notes for some artists’ album, including for Bob Dylan’s Biograph (1986) three-disc set, which brought him a Grammy nomination, as well as for Led Zeppelin’s album box set in 1990. In between, he also made a first attempt in directing with the teen romantic comedy Say Anything (1989, also wrote), starring John Cusack and Ione Skye. Still working on romantic comedy genre, he made a movie depicting the life of a group of twenty-something friends in Bridget Fonda-starring Singles (1992, directed, wrote, produced, and appeared onscreen as the club interviewer).
Gaining even better, his next filmmaking experience in Jerry Maguire (1996) won a People’s Choice for Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The award-winning movie was a story of the titular sport agent, played by Tom Cruise, who found real love and trust in sportsman Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character) and single mom Dorothy Boyd (played by Renée Zellweger).
Yet, Crowe’s biggest triumph was with his autobiographical drama movie Almost Famous (2000), in which he directed, produced, and wrote the story based on his experience as a teen reporter for Rolling Stone magazine. Before long, he collected an Oscar and a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Picture. Starring Patrick Fugit as William Miller the teen reporter, the movie also featured Crowe’s songwriting works.
Crowe, who in 2001 was nominated for DGA’s Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, recast Tom Cruise and coupled him up with Penélope Cruz in his fourth directorial attempt, the successful romantic comedy Vanilla Sky (2001, also wrote the song “I Fall Apart”). The Cruise-Cruz starring film eventually made repeated viewings and reached over $200 million in worldwide box office sales.
Four years later, his subsequent romantic comedy, Elizabethtown (2005), was released. It chronicled the ruined life of suicidal industrial designer Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) and his love with flight attendant Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst). For the film, aside from directing and screenwriting, Crowe also produced and wrote the soundtrack “Same in Any Language.”