The man behind legendary sci-fi movies like The Terminator, Aliens, and Avatar
, James Cameron is one of the most successful 3D filmmakers. He has established himself as an equally prosperous producer, and screenwriter, whose movies have received cult status. Cameron`s romance-disaster film Titanic
(1997) that starred Leonardo DiCaprio
and Kate Winslet
, is considered to be one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
James Cameron was born in 1954 in Kapuskasing, Canada to an artist and nurse Shirley, and Phillip Cameron, an electrical engineer. His ancestors were from Balquhidder, Scotland. Growing up in Chippawa, Ontario, Cameron attended Stamford Collegiate School in Niagara Falls, Ontario. To further his education, Cameron attended Brea Olinda High School. In 1973, he enrolled at Fullerton College, a two-year community college to learn Physics. He later switched to study English before dropping out at the start of 1974. He worked as a truck driver and did several jobs before becoming a filmmaker.
Cameron has been married five times to the spouses - Sharon Williams (1978-1984), Gale Anne Hurd
(1985-1989), Kathryn Bigelow
(1989-1991), Linda Hamilton (1997-1999), and Suzy Amis(2000-present). He has a daughter Josephine born in 1993 with Hamilton. He has been married to actress Suzy Amis since 2000, and they have one son and two daughters.
As a director
Cameron directed the American science fiction short film Xenogenesis in 1978, but made his feature film directorial debut in 1981, when he directed the sequel to Piranha, titled Piranha II: The Spawning
. He also handled the special effects in this Italian-American horror film that starred Tricia O`Neil and Steve Marachuk in lead roles. His next directorial venture wasThe Terminator
in 1984, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger
in the lead along with Linda Hamilton
, who appeared in the role of Sarah Connor. The movie was highly successful, making Cameron an instant hit among audiences and also in the industry. It received critical acclaim and became one of the best films in 1984. News publishers lauded the chase scenes, special effects and the sly humor in the film.
Cameron went on to make several iconic movies after The Terminator
. He directed Aliens in 1986, a sequel to the 1979 movie Aliens (same name), with Sigourney Weaver
playing again the iconic role of Ellen Ripley. The movie was a blockbuster, and it received Academy Award nominations in several categories such as Best Art Direction, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects. The director`s 1989 project was The Abyss, with a plot that revolved around underground oil rig workers who come in contact with unknown underwater creatures. He got the idea for the film in high school when he attended a lecture on deep-sea diving. The movie starred Ed Harris
, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
and Michael Biehn
in pivotal roles. The movie won the 1990 Oscar for Best Visual Effects, and was nominated in categories like Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound. Two years later, Cameron made Terminator 2: Judgment Day with Arnold Schwarzenegger
and Linda Hamilton
playing the lead. In the film, Schwarzenegger played the protector. The movie broke box office records and went on to become the highest-grossing movie of the year. It earned four Academy Awards: Best Makeup, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects.
In 1994, Cameron directed the True Lies, once again starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
as the made lead whereas Jamie Lee Curtis
was seen playing the female lead. Based on the French comedy La Totale!, the plot revolved around an average husband/father living with a secret identity. The movie was a smash hit and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. Three years later, in 1997, Cameron decided to make one of the most expensive and highest grossing movies of all times Titanic
. The director had in mind a desire to make a movie on the sinking of the ship RMS Titanic, and so he wrote a script that revolved around two young lovers from different economic backgrounds who fall in love on the ship. For the underwater scenes, Cameron personally took dives into the Atlantic Ocean to shoot actual footage of the ship underwater, which he then used in the film. The movie starred, Leonardo DiCaprio
and Kate Winslet
in the leading roles.
Cameron`s next big hit was Avatar in 2009, which was highly acclaimed by critics and audiences. The movie was directed, scripted, produced, and co-edited by Cameron. It starred Sam Worthington
, Zoe Saldana
, Stephen Lang
, Michelle Rodriguez
, and Sigourney Weaver
in lead roles. Set in the mid-22nd century, the plot revolved around human colonizing Pandora to mine a mineral called unobtanium. With a budget of over $300 million, the movie was made up of entirely computer-generated animation. It became the first movie to earn more than $2 billion worldwide.
As a writer
In 1985, Cameron worked on the screenplay of the film Rambo: First Blood Part II. Sylvester Stallion starred in this cult classic, which cemented his career as an all-time favorite action star. It is a sequel to the 1982 film First Blood, and the second installment in the Rambo film series. The film found a place in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson`s book The Official Razzie Movie Guide, as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made. Sylvester Stallone
and James Cameron won worst actor and worst screenplay award. Though critically it was panned, it was considered a blockbuster. Cameron was associated as a writer in his directorial ventures like Piranha II: The Spawning
, The Terminator
, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies
, and Avatar
, to name a few.
As a producer
Cameron-produced Sanctum in 2011, a 3D disaster movie, where a team of divers explore the lower level of caves. While the movie got panned by the critics, it earned an AACTA Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. The plot revolved around an underwater cave exploration site in Papua New Guinea. Directed by Andrew Adamson
, Cameron produced Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
in 2012, an American 3D family fantasy film on exploring a dream like world of carnival through two protagonists falling in love.
Starring Erica Linz and Igor Zaripov as the main characters, the film was appreciated by critics at its Tokyo premiere. The movie was nominated for the Golden Trailer Awards in the category. Cameron has produced several films, a few of which are Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies
, Titanic, Ghosts of the Abyss, Aliens of the Deep, and Avatar.
Cameron started his television career in 1998 with an American sitcom titled, Mad About You, in which he appeared as himself in the final episode. In 2012 Cameron starred as himself in the series, Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron. As a passionate scuba driver, Cameron collaborated with National Geographic Channel to produce three documentaries in the year 2012 and 2013 titled James Cameron: Voyage to the Bottom of the Earth (2012), Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron (2012) and, A New Age of Exploration: National Geographic at 125 (2013). Apart from documentaries, Cameron has also appeared as himself in four episodes of Entourage from 2005 to 2006 in episodes titled. He produced the documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously, which focused on global warming. The series received critical acclaim and The Globe and Mail called it "a lavish, gripping production focused on the real effect of climate change in real people`s lives around the world."