A director who struck gold with the 1999 blockbuster The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan came out of almost nowhere to become one of the year's greatest sensations. The second biggest moneymaker of 1999 (the first being Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace), The Sixth Sense also proved to be a critical favorite, earning a slew of Oscar nominations that included Best Director and Best Picture.
Born in Madras, India, on August 6, 1970, Shyamalan was raised in the posh Philadelphia suburb of Penn Valley. The son of doctors, he developed a passion for filmmaking when he was given a Super-8 camera at the age of eight. By the time he was 17, Shyamalan -- who idolized Steven Spielberg -- had made 45 home movies, and after receiving a Catholic school education, he studied filmmaking at the Tisch School of the Arts. He graduated in 1992, and that same year he made his first feature film, Praying with Anger, which was based to some extent on his trip back to the country of his birth.