Penelope Spheeris

Director, Producer, Screenwriter
As a notable filmmaker during the 1980s independent movement, director Penelope Spheeris found substantial mainstream success in the 1990s helming a number of high-profile features and television projects. After ... Read more »
Born: 12/01/1945 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Filmography

Director (29)

The Real St. Nick 2012 - 2013 (TV Show)

Director

Balls to the Wall 2011 (Movie)

(Director)

Penelope Spheeris Music Videos 2005 (Movie)

(Director)

The Kid & I 2005 (Movie)

(Director)

Cracking Up 2004 (Tv Show)

Director

Oscar Countdown 2003 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Segment Director

The 74th Annual Academy Awards 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Segment Director

We Sold Our Souls for Rock 'N' Roll 1999 (Movie)

(Director)

Senseless 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

No Use Walking When You Can Stroll 1997 (Movie)

(Director)

Black Sheep 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

The Little Rascals 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Danger Theatre 1992 - 1993 (Tv Show)

Director

The Beverly Hillbillies 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Wayne's World 1992 (Movie)

(Director)

Visitors From the Unknown 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Director

Thunder and Mud 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Director

Dudes 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

Hollywood Vice Squad 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

The Boys Next Door 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

Suburbia 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

The Decline of Western Civilization 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

I Don't Know 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

Five (TV Show)

Director

The Gospel According to Janis (Movie)

(Director)
Actor (12)

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel 2011 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Heavy: The Story of Metal 2006 (Tv Show)

Actor

When Metal Ruled The World 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

VH1 Presents the '80s 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Jim Varney: The E! True Hollywood Story 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Canned Ham: Senseless 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

VH1 Presents the '70s 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

Decade 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Wedding Band 1990 (Movie)

Nicky's Mom (Actor)

Calling the Shots 1988 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)
Writer (7)

The Little Rascals 1994 (Movie)

(From Story)

The Little Rascals 1994 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Roseanne 1989 - 1990 (Tv Show)

Writer

Summer Camp Nightmare 1987 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Suburbia 1983 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Decline of Western Civilization 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Gospel According to Janis (Movie)

(Screenwriter)
Producer (6)

The Kid & I 2005 (Movie)

(Producer)

The 75th Annual Academy Awards 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Segment Producer

The Beverly Hillbillies 1993 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Decline of Western Civilization 1981 (Movie)

(Producer)

Real Life 1979 (Movie)

(Producer)

Saturday Night Live 1975 - 1976 (Tv Show)

Segment Producer
Camera, Film, & Tape (1)

We Sold Our Souls for Rock 'N' Roll 1999 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Biography

As a notable filmmaker during the 1980s independent movement, director Penelope Spheeris found substantial mainstream success in the 1990s helming a number of high-profile features and television projects. After establishing her bona fides with the cult favorite documentary, "The Decline of Western Civilization" (1981) and its sequel "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II, The Metal Years" (1988), Spheeris made the jump to features with appreciated efforts like "Suburbia" (1983) and "The Boys Next Door" (1985). But it was directing the surprise hit comedy "Wayne's World" (1992) that propelled Spheeris into the realm of commercially successful director. Seeking to cement her commercial status, she directed feature remakes of "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1993), "The Little Rascals" (1994) and "Black Sheep" (1996), though all three films failed at the box office and were dismissed by critics. She attempted to return to her roots with "The Decline of Western Civilization Part III" (1998), but that film failed to see a theatrical release. Spheeris revived herself a bit with "We Sold Our Souls for Rock 'n' Roll" (2001), only to fall back into mediocrity with little seen comedies like "The Kid & I" (2005) and "Balls to the Wall" (2010). Regardless of her own professional decline, Spheeris remained a potent filmmaker when given the right material.

Relationships

Annalee Spheeris

Daughter
born c. 1970

EDUCATION

University of California at Los Angeles

Los Angeles , California

AFI Conservatory

Los Angeles , California

Milestones

2005

Directed the comedy "The Kid & I," starring Tom Arnold and Joe Mantegna

2003

Helmed "The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron" a documentary on the rise and fall of the Enron company, as seen from the perspective of employee Brian Cruver

2001

Helmed "We Sold Our Souls for Rock 'n Roll," a documentary on Ozzfest, the rock extravaganza produced by Sharon Osbourne

1998

Helmed the documentary "The Decline of Western Civilization Part III," which gives an accurate picture of homeless teenagers living off the streets of L.A.

1996

Directed the comedy "Black Sheep," starring SNL alum Chris Farley and David Spade

1994

Directed the feature adaptation "The Little Rascals," based on the classic theatrical "Our Gang" short subject series and successful TV series

1993

Directed the comedy "The Beverly Hillbillies," a feature adaptation of the classic TV show

1993

Created, executive produced, directed the pilot and sometimes provided the story for "Danger Theatre", a short-lived Fox Adventure spoof

1992

Directed her commercial breakthrough, the surprise blockbuster comedy, "Wayne's World", from the popular "SNL" sketches

1991

Network TV directing debut, "Visitors From the Unknown", a CBS reality-based special about extraterrestrial encounters

1991

TV fiction directing debut, "Prison Stories: Women on the Inside" on "HBO Showcase"; directed the segment entitled "New Chicks"

1990

Feature acting debut, "Wedding Band"

1989

Co-directed "Decade", an MTV special about 1980s trends

1989

Worked in the recording industry as an A&R exec, a high-profile talent scout; signed her first band--Grave Danger--to MCA Records

1989

TV directing debut, "Thunder and Mud", a cable pay-per-view special featuring female mud wrestling set to LA-based rock bands

1988

Directed the quasi-sequel documentary, "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II, The Metal Years"

1986

Provided the screenplay for "Summer Camp Nightmare/The Butterfly Revolution"

1984

Directed first narrative feature, "Suburbia"

1981

Produced, directed, wrote screenplay and provided additional photography for "The Decline of Western Civilization", an acclaimed documentary feature about the LA punk scene

1979

First feature as producer, Albert Brooks' documentary spoof, "Real Life"

1944

Spent her first seven years traveling around the American South and Midwest with her father's carnival, Magic Empire Shows (date approximate)

Worked as film editor before forming own company, Rock 'n' Reel; produced and directed promotional films for the music industry

Worked on two Lily Tomlin specials in the 1970s; first professional association with writer (and future "Saturday Night Live" producer) Lorne Michaels

Worked as a waitress for 12 years; one employer was the International House of Pancakes

Produced seven short films directed by Albert Brooks for "Saturday Night Live"

Joined the staff of the hit sitcom "Roseanne" during its secong season to serve as story editor

Bonus Trivia

.

"'If the only three films I made were "Wayne's World", "Beverly Hillbillies" and "The Little Rascals", then I would probably have some guilt about a lack of originality and creativity... But you can't forget I also did these other things that were so weird I couldn't get a job in Hollywood for 20 years.'" "She admits her appearance didn't help. 'I had every color hair. I had the weirdest clothes. I was freaky visually. It changed for me when somebody said 'Do you really need all that attention?' And I went 'oh.'... Once I figured it out I didn't need it anymore.... I enjoy life so much more fadinging into the crowd.'"-- From "Penelope Spheeris' Wayward Road to 'Rascals'" by Susan Spillman, "USA Today", August 25, 1994.

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