Spike Jonze

Born Adam Spiegel in Rockville, Md., on Oct. 22, 1969, the man who would become known as Spike Jonze pulled up stakes at age 17 and headed to Los Angeles. Working as a photographer, he polished his lensing skills in the skateboarding arena, paving the way for a segue to directing skateboarding videos and music videos for such artists as the Beastie Boys and Björk.

Jonze ventured into movies in 1997 with a cameo in The Game and later garnered acclaim for his role as a redneck soldier in Three Kings (1999). But he would make his mark in Hollywood as a director, beginning with Being John Malkovich (1999), which netted Jonze an Oscar nod. For helming his second feature, Adaptation (2002), he earned a Golden Globe nomination.

Jonze's television credits include MTV's "Jackass," an extreme stunt show that spawned a hit theatrical franchise. In 2009, he brought a live-action version of the classic children's book "Where the Wild Things Are" to the big screen.