A director of some the most fast-paced, tightly-edited thrillers in film history, John Flynn grew up in the Hermosa Beach district of Los Angeles and studied journalism at UCLA. He took his first job in Hollywood as an apprentice to Robert Wise on the set of the movie "Odds Against Tomorrow" in 1959. He then served as a script supervisor for Wise's 1961 musical " West Side Story," which won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Flynn then went on to work as a second unit director on a number of films before starting out on his own. The first feature he directed was "The Sergeant," which starred Rod Steiger as a World War II-era war hero struggling to repress his feelings of sexual attraction to one of underlings. After the release of "The Sergeant" in 1968, Flynn continued to direct, establishing a reputation for successfully crafting blunt, effectual crime dramas like 1977's "Rolling Thunder," 1980's "Defiance" and 1991's "Out for Justice." His films are usually spare and literal and tend to focus on the struggles of a lone male protagonist. In an interesting departure, Flynn directed the TV movie "Marilyn: The Untold Story" in 1980. His only film to focus on a female protagonist, the movie traced the life of an orphan named Norma Jean who would grow up to become the world's most lusted-after movie star, Marilyn Monroe.