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Joss Whedon is a writer and director best known as the creator of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
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TV writer Joss Whedon was born in New York City in 1964. He started out as a staff writer for 1990s sitcom Roseanne, and worked on films, including Toy Story. In 1992 he penned the script for a film Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When the TV version starring Sarah Michelle Gellar took off in 1997, Whedon had his big break—with its female action heroine,
I believe the best thing in the world is for everybody who feels like they have a story to tell, to tell it.
Buffy became a huge hit. Whedon wrote hundreds of episodes for Buffy and its spinoff Angel, and was nominated for Emmy and Hugo awards for his work. Whedon has come to enjoy a cult following.
Writer, director and producer Joseph Hill Whedon was born on June 23, 1964, in New York City. Joss Whedon grew up well versed in the world of television. He has been called the world's first third-generation TV writer, as his father Tom Whedon was a screenwriter for The Electric Company, The Golden Girls and Benson, while his grandfather John Whedon wrote for The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Donna Reed Show.
Despite this lineage, Joss Whedon credits his mother Lee Stearns for being the deepest influence on his writing. "She was an extraordinary inspiration," he said. "A radical feminist, a history teacher and just one hell of a woman. What she did was provide a role model of someone who is completely in control of her life. It was only when I got to college that I realized that the rest of the world didn't run the way my world was run and that there was a need for feminism. I'd thought it was all solved. There are people like my mom, clearly everyone is equal and it's all fine."
Whedon spent time as a teenager in a boarding school in England—where he became a fan of Stephen Sondheim and comic books—before graduating from Wesleyan University in Connecticut with a degree in film studies and a focus on women's studies. With a degree under his belt, Whedon set out for Hollywood in 1988. After a few false starts, he found a steady position working as a staff writer for Roseanne. He also worked as a script doctor for several movies, including the Oscar-nominated Toy Story, Alien: Resurrection and Waterworld, but he disliked the work. "I was wealthy and miserable," he later recalled. "I never had less fun succeeding at a job in my life."
Whedon's first produced film script, the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, showcased his dream of creating not just a female hero but ''a world in which adolescent boys would see a girl who takes charge as the sexiest goddamn thing they ever saw." He lost control of his screenplay during the production process, however, and was "devastated" with how the movie had turned from a tale of female empowerment to a broad comedy about vampires. "I hate camp," he said.
Luckily, several years later Whedon was approached by Hollywood producers with an idea: could he turn the movie into a TV show? "I thought, 'High school as a horror movie.' And so the metaphor became the central concept behind Buffy, and that's how I sold it." Buffy jump-started Whedon's career as creator, writer and director off cult-classic television series.
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