Cameron Crowe

By age 15, Cameron Crowe was writing for Creem and Penthouse, and by 16, he had joined the staff of Rolling Stone -- an experience he captured in his 2000 dream project Almost Famous, which earned Crowe the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

Born July 13, 1957, in Palm Springs, Calif., Crowe graduated from high school at age 15 but returned seven years later (posing as a student) to research a book. That book -- Fast Times at Ridgemont High -- was optioned for film before it even hit bookstores and became the basis for the classic '80s teen comedy.

Crowe's first directing job came in 1989 with the finely acted teen drama Say Anything (with John Cusack and Ione Skye), but it wasn't until 1996's Jerry Maguire that Crowe had a bona fide blockbuster. Starring Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger and Cuba Gooding Jr., the film received five Oscar nominations.