Raised in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland
Began working as a puppeteer at age 12, performing at children's birthday parties
Directed first 8mm short, "Hag in a Black Leather Jacket"
Released three of his 8mm shorts under the umbrella title, "Roman Candles"; first collaboration with Divine and Mink Stole
Feature film debut as writer/director, "Mondo Trasho"
First feature starring Divine, "Multiple Maniacs"
Attended court trials of the Manson gang, Patty Hearst, and serial killer Richard Ramirez
Released the notorious cult film, "Pink Flamingos" starring Divine and Mink Stole; film was closed down in Hicksville, NY and Waters fined $5,000 for obscenity; film was also banned in Australia, Canada and Norway
"Pink Flamingos" was accepted into the permanent collection of the Musum of Modern Art
First studio-backed feature, "Polyester" starring Divine and Mink Stole; employed "Odorama" a gimmick involving the distribution of scratch-and-sniff cards to be used with visual cues in the film
Made cameo appearance as car salesman in Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild"
Had role in TV-movie "Passion Flower" (CBS)
Directed his most profitable feature (to date) "Hairspray"; first film with Ricki Lake; last film with Divine
Honored with a 7-day career retrospective, "Midnight Madness: The Films of John Waters" at the Angelika Theater in NYC
First Hollywood A-list film (major stars; $13 million budget), "Serial Mom"
Participated on-camera in "Ballyhoo! The Hollywood Sideshow" (American Movie Classics)
Provided a character voice on the animated FOX series "The Simpsons"
"Pink Flamingos" was re-released in a 25th Anniversary edition
Wrote and directed "Pecker," a semi-autobiographical portrait of a teenaged photographer
Featured in Woody Allen's "Sweet and Lowdown"
Helmed "Cecil B. DeMented" starring Melanie Griffith and Stephen Dorff; loosely based on the 1974 kidnapping of Patty Hearst
Directed the the NC-17-rated "A Dirty Shame" starring Tracey Ullman, Johnny Knoxville and Selma Blair
Voiced the Sleazy Reporter in "Seed of Chucky"
Played the narrator/groom reaper in the 13-part TV true-crime drama series "Til Death Do Us Part" (Court TV)
Appeared in "This Filthy World," a straight documentary of his long-running one-man show