Werner Herzog

A critically acclaimed art house director often linked with the new wave of German cinema, Werner Herzog was born outside of Munich in Sachrang, Germany, on Sept. 5, 1942.

His long career is marked by features with oddly fascinating subjects and characters -- for example, Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970) is set in a prison populated entirely by dwarves and midgets -- but he's also well-known for his documentaries. My Best Friend (1999) explored the director's often tumultuous relationship with German actor Klaus Kinski, who starred in the Herzog masterworks Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982).

The documentary Grizzly Man (2005) also generated significant buzz by relaying the unimaginable fate of a grizzly bear activist who was killed by the same animals he worked his whole life to protect.