Michael Moore

Born in the working-class community of Davison, Mich., on April 23, 1954, Michael Moore displayed his social consciousness and populist leanings early, becoming one of the first teens to be elected to public office. As a filmmaker, he shot to fame with his first documentary, Roger & Me (1989), which illustrated how General Motors factory closings had affected the town of Flint, Mich.

He continued to poke his camera in places he wasn't wanted with the newsmagazine "TV Nation" (1994), co-starring comedians Janeane Garofalo and Steven Wright, before venturing back to guerilla filmmaking with The Big One (1998), about the impact of the 1990s economic boom.

But it was with Bowling for Columbine (2002) that he commanded the attention of critics and won a controversial Academy Award. He subsequently ruffled feathers once again with Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), a follow-up expose of the Iraq War.