Cameron Crowe Biography

Journalist, Screenwriter, Director (1957–)
Director Cameron Crowe began writing for Rolling Stone at age 16, an experience that would later inspire his Oscar-winning screenplay for the film Almost Famous.


Cameron Crowe was born on July 13, 1957, in Palm Springs, California. At the age of 15, he finished high school and one year later started writing for Rolling Stone. He pursued screenwriting and wrote the script for the 1982 classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High. His career has included hits such as Say Anything… and Jerry Maguire. The semi-autobiographical film Almost Famous won him an Oscar in 2000.

Early Years

Born July 13, 1957, in Palm Springs, California, Cameron Crowe is the son of a teacher and a real estate agent. Crowe graduated high school at age 15 and began writing articles for Rolling Stone magazine when he was 16. He briefly attended San Diego City College but dropped out to pursue his screenwriting career.

Hitting the Big Screen

With the screenplay for 1982's now-legendary teen comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Crowe tapped into an ability to portray both the humorous and poignant aspects of teenage life.

Two years later he wrote the script for The Wild Life, a Fast Times sequel of sorts starring Chris Penn, the brother of Fast Times' star Sean Penn. The film was nowhere near as successful, but Crowe bounced back with 1989's romantic comedy Say Anything...,a film that would mark Crowe's directorial debut. In 1992 Crowe was back in the director's chair with Singles, featuring Matt Dillon and Bridget Fonda.


While Crowe's early films resonated deeply with Gen X audiences, he achieved his greatest commercial and critical success with the 1996 blockbuster Jerry Maguire, starring Tom Cruise and newcomer Renée Zellweger. Crowe earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay for the film.

His next undertaking, 2000's Almost Famous, was a semiautobiographical story of an aspiring teenage rock journalist hired by Rolling Stone to go on tour with an up-and-coming band. The film was a success at the box office and with critics, winning a Golden Globe for Best Film Comedy and an Academy Award for Crowe for Best Original Screenplay.

Other Notable Work

In 2001, Crowe took his output in a different direction with his remake of the Spanish film Open Your Eyes titled Vanilla Sky. Starring Penelope Cruz and Tom Cruise, the much-hyped sci-fi romantic thriller was a real departure for Crowe, and it didn't do well at the box office and left critics divided. Other films followed, such as Elizabethtown (2005), Pearl Jam Twenty (2011) and We Bought a Zoo (2011), but Crowe has not yet been able to repeat his earlier box-office success.

Personal Life

In 1986, Crowe married musician Nancy Wilson, a member of rock group Heart. Their twin boys William and Curtis were born in 2000. The couple separated in 2008 and divorced in 2010. Crowe is the author of two books: Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A True Story (1981) and Conversations With Wilder (1999).

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