As one of the highest-paid and most notorious writers in 1990s Hollywood, Joe Eszterhas became that rare modern screenwriter who was able to lay claim to achieving auteur status. Eszterhas was less important for his talent - which some reviewers deemed rather dubious - than for his stature as a star writer in an industry that doted on high-profile actors and directors. With plots that tended to focus on love and betrayal, Eszterhas courted controversy almost from the start when he made his debut with "F.I.S.T." (1978) and begrudgingly sharing screenwriting credit with star Sylvester Stallone. He had his first major hit with the paper-thin but memorable "Flashdance" (1983), before tackling more mature fare like "Betrayed" (1988) and "Music Box" (1989). But Eszterhas achieved a great deal of infamy with his most successful movie, the erotic thriller "Basic Instinct" (1992), which he sold for a whopping $3 million and pushed the envelope on sexual content while managing to generate protests for its alleged anti-gay sentiments. He continued to mine the depths of eroticism with "Sliver" (199) and "Jade" (1995), before his career was effectively destroyed by "Showgirls" (1995) and "Burn, Hollywood, Burn" (1998), widely considered to be two of the worst movies ever made. Regardless of his reputation as a purveyor of mediocrity, there was no doubt that Eszterhas became exceedingly rich from his efforts while also helping to bring screenwriters out of the shadows and into the spotlight.