A rock journalist turned screenwriter and director, Cameron Crowe first became known for creating realistic and funny portraits of modern youth. After writing the screenplay for Amy Heckerling's seminal 1980s teen comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Crowe found further acclaim directing and writing another seminal 1980s teen comedy, Say Anything... (1989). Following Singles (1992), his engaging take on romantic angst among a group of young Seattle twentysomethings, he achieved his greatest commercial and critical success to date as the writer, producer, and director of the much-honored Tom Cruise vehicle Jerry Maguire (1996).
Born in Palm Springs, CA, but raised in San Diego, Crowe became a journalist at the age of 15, writing music reviews and articles for such major publications as Creem, Playboy, and Penthouse. A year later, he became a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and was later promoted to associate editor. During this period, he interviewed many rock music legends, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton. At age the age of 22, he returned to high school to research a book on adolescent life and subsequently adapted the best-selling result into the script for Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). The film became something of a legend, not only because of its realistic, sensitive, and funny portrayal of teenage travails, but also for launching the careers of some of Hollywood's brightest stars, notably Sean Penn and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Crowe's screenplay netted him a nomination for a Best Screen Adaptation award from the Writers Guild of America.