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Penelope Spheeris


  Female      American      Director

  Born : Dec 02, 1945  


About Author

Penelope Spheeris (born December 2, 1945) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. She is best known as a documentary film director whose works include the trilogy titled The Decline of Western Civilization. She has directed feature films, including Wayne's World, her highest grossing film.

Spheeris was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to a Greek immigrant father who owned the Magic Empire Shows carnival and was a side-show strong man. Her mother was a ticket taker for a traveling carnival.[3] Spheeris has three full siblings and a number of older half-siblings from her father's first marriage.[4] She is a sister of singer Jimmie Spheeris[5] and a first cousin of musician Chris Spheeris,[5] and the Greek-French director Costa Gavras, which she says has made her consider that there is a genetic component to her vocation.

Spheeris spent her first seven years traveling around the American South and American Midwest with her father's carnival. Her father was shot and killed in Troy, Alabama after intervening in a racial dispute. In a 2015 interview, Spheeris stated that her father had come to the aid of an African American man who had been struck on the back of the head with a cane by a white man over a dispute about cutting in front of him line. The white man soon after returned and shot Spheeris' father dead. She states that her father's killer served no jail time, the man's legal defence apparently resting entirely on that he was justified in murdering Spheeris senior as "he was defending a black."..


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