‘Hairspray’ Director John Waters to Receive Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

American filmmaker-writer-actor-artist John Waters will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles will premiere a special exhibit dedicated to the director of Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Polyester, Hairspray, and Serial Mom.

In an interview with Los Angeles magazine, Waters says, “I’m bringing a photo of my parents [to the ceremony] because they allowed and encouraged me even though they were horrified by the movies I made. I always wanted to sell out to Hollywood. Problem is, no one wanted to buy me.”

Hairspray Is the Gift That Keeps Giving to John Waters

hairspray e1694638520873
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

Waters earned the nickname “Pope of Trash” for his transgressive cult films such as Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Multiple Maniacs, and Desperate Living. These underground movies featured a cast of regulars and friends known as the Dreamlanders, including the drag performer Divine. Waters didn't break into the mainstream until 1988's Hairspray, starring Ricki Lake (pictured above, right), Divine (in his final performance), Debbie Harry, Jerry Stiller, and Sonny Bono. Although a modest success at the box office, Hairspray became a cult favorite on home video. It spawned the Tony-winning Broadway musical of the same name and subsequent musical movie starring John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer. In addition to directing movies, Waters also performs one-man comedy shows, is the author of several books, and works as a photographer and visual artist.

As reported in Los Angeles magazine, at the same time Waters will appear in Los Angeles to receive the 2,763rd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens a year-long exhibit dedicated to Waters called “John Waters: Pope of Trash.” The magazine describes the exhibit as “an expansive yearlong exhibit that looks back at the 77-year-old auteur’s six decades of shock-and-awe filmmaking. Pulling from Waters’ archives at Wesleyan University, as well as his private collection of memorabilia — like the electric chair that zapped Divine in Female Trouble, which usually sits in his living room in Baltimore — it too promises to be hilarious, filled with fake glamour and, especially, of questionable taste. Says Dara Jaffe, who curated the show along with Museum of Modern Art alum Jenny He, ‘We wanted to show our reverence for John’s irreverence.'”

When asked what he wants the uninitiated, who may only know Hairspray, to take away from the Academy Museum exhibit, Waters says, “I hope kids realize they aren’t weird and that dreams really do come true. That’s what movies can do, take you into another world. That’s why I called my original studio Dreamland — it was a bedroom in my parents’ house where I made my first movie. In a way, I do find show business holy: It’s a miracle, and it’s all about believing.”

“John Waters: Pope of Trash” opens at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on September 17. Waters receives his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 18 at 6644 Hollywood Boulevard.