John Samuel Waters Jr. (born April 22, 1946) is an American filmmaker, actor, writer, and artist. Born and raised in Baltimore, Waters rose to fame in the early 1970s for his transgressive cult films, including Multiple Maniacs (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972), and Female Trouble (1974). He wrote and directed the 1988 film Hairspray, which became an international success and was adapted into a hit Broadway musical. Waters has written and directed other successful films, including Polyester (1981), Cry-Baby (1990), Serial Mom (1994), Pecker (1998), and Cecil B. Demented (2000).
As an actor, Waters appeared in the television series ‘Til Death Do Us Part (2007), and in the films Sweet and Lowdown (1999), Seed of Chucky (2004), Excision (2012), and Suburban Gothic (2014). More recently, he performs in his touring one-man show, This Filthy World. Waters has often worked with actor Divine and his regular cast of the Dreamlanders.
Waters also works as a visual artist and across different mediums, such as installations, photography, and sculpture. In 2016, he received an honorary degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His books Carsick (2015) and Mr. Know-It-All (2020) were both nominated for a Grammy Award.