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Home / John Waters

Filmmaker John Waters receives Hollywood Walk of Fame star

A star honoring John Waters was unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday, one day after the opening of an exhibition at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures dedicated to the contributions to cinema made by the filmmaker nicknamed “The Pope of Trash.”

“Here I am, closer to the gutter than ever,” Waters quipped as stepped to the microphone during the late-morning ceremony. “The Hollywood Walk of Fame. The first place I ever came to in Los Angeles. … I got out of my vehicle in 1970 at Hollywood and Vine and darted across the street — and got a jaywalking ticket.”

Ricki Lake, Mink Stole and Greg Gorman were among those joining Waters at the ceremony in front of the Larry Edmunds Bookshop at 6844 Hollywood Blvd., between Highland Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard.

The location was chosen because the bookstore focused on film and theater history is a favorite of Waters, Ana Martinez, producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, told City News Service.

“This star is at the perfect location,” Waters confirmed during his remarks. “I’ve been coming here for half a century. It’s still my favorite spot on Hollywood Boulevard.”

Stole has appeared in all 12 feature films Waters has directed and written and is part of the Dreamlanders, the group of actors who regularly appear in his films. The term comes from the name of Waters’ production company, Dreamland Productions.

The group also includes Divine, who died in 1988, Mary Vivian Pearce, David Lochary, who died in 1977, and Edith Massey.

Lake appeared in five of the six films Waters directed between 1988 and 2004, including starring in “Hairspray.”

Waters wrote the foreword to Gorman’s 1997 book of photographs, “Inside Life.”

The star is the 2,763rd since the completion of the Walk of Fame in 1961 with the initial 1,558 stars.

Waters was born on April 22, 1946, in Baltimore, where he still lives and has been the setting for all his films.

Waters was drawn to movies at an early age. He subscribed to Variety when he was 12 years old, absorbing the entertainment industry trade publication’s information and insider lingo which proved useful as he began his career giving puppet shows for children’s birthday parties.

As a teenager, Waters began making 8 mm underground movies influenced by the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Walt Disney, Andy Warhol, Russ Meyer, Ingmar Bergman and Herschell Gordon Lewis. His first was “Hag in a Black Leather Jacket,” which ran for 17 minutes and cost $30 to make in 1964.

According to the museum, Waters’ films “revel in irreverence, laugh-out-loud humor and heart.”

His first feature was “Mondo Trasho,” a black comedy released in 1969 with very little dialogue, with the story being told mostly through musical cues, and starred Divine.

Waters directed five other films between 1970 and 1981 — “Multiple Maniacs,” “Pink Flamingos,” “Female Trouble,” “Desperate Living” and “Polyester.”

He turned more mainstream in 1988 with “Hairspray,” which starred Lake as teenager Tracy Turnblad who pursued stardom as a dancer on a local television show and rallies against racial segregation. It is the only film Waters directed to be rated PG.

Lake was also a cast member of Waters’ next two films, “Cry-Baby,” released in 1990, and “Serial Mom,” released in 1994.

Waters’ three most recent films are “Pecker,” released in 1998, “Cecil B. Demented,” released in 2000, and “A Dirty Shame,” released in 2004.

“Hairspray” and “Pink Flamingos” are on the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, a list of films deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” and “works of enduring importance to American culture” that are recommended for preservation.

What is billed as “the first comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the Waters’ contributions to cinema” opened Sunday at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and will run through Aug. 4.

John Waters: Pope of Trash” delves into his filmmaking process, key themes and style. Works on view include costumes, set decorations, props, handwritten scripts, posters, concept designs, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs and film clips.

An accompanying screening series of Waters’ films will run through Oct. 28.

The exhibition’s title stems from a 1986 description of Waters by the late writer and visual artist William S. Burroughs.

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