Filmmaker known for such subversive cult movies as Pink Flamingos and Polyester. He also directed the more mainstream feature Hairspray, a 1988 film that later became a hit Broadway musical. His acting credits include roles in Seed of Chucky, My Name is Earl, and Sweet and Lowdown.
As a child, he was artistically inspired by the puppet characters in the 1953 MGM film Lili.
He enjoyed casting notorious figures in his movies, including adult film star Traci Lords and famous kidnap victim Patty Hearst.
He grew up in Baltimore, Maryland as the son of John Samuel Waters and Patricia Ann Whitaker. He married Zoe Burton and he has five children.
Ricki Lake starred in his 1988 film Hairspray.