Friday, April 19, 2024

Remembering Legendary Movie Director Ed Wood on his 99th Birthday

He’s considered one of the worst movie directors ever but his movies are authentic masterpieces of Cinema

Remembering Legendary Movie Director Ed Wood on his 99th Birthday

Today is the 95th birthday of Ed Wood. The movie director, screenwriter, actor, and producer, Edward Davis Wood, Jr. was born on October 10, 1924, in Poughkeepsie, New York. It is said that Edward’s mother always wanted a girl and until Ed, Jr., was 12-years-old she dressed him in girls’ clothing. Young Ed loved movies and eventually found a job as a cinema usher. He also learned several musical instruments and formed a singing quartet called Eddie Wood’s Little Splinters. Ed Wood received his first movie camera on his 17th birthday and his first “film” records the crash of an airplane. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, young Edward enlisted in the Marines. After his discharge, he pursued his love of the bizarre by joining the freak show of a carnival. At times, he played the part of the bearded lady and created his own prosthetic breasts. During the 1950s, he wrote, produced, and acted in a number of very low-budget science fiction, horror, and cowboy films. These films are celebrated today for their many obvious errors, cheap special effects, strange dialogue, miscasting, and crazy plots. Wood often struggled to make ends meet and was sometimes forced to churn out film scripts in one night to keep to schedules. When his movie career began to wane, mostly from lack of funding, Ed Wood turned his prolific creative nature to the printed page, turning out sex novels, pulp fiction, and horror stories. The lack of money took its toll and Wood struggled with health issues, including an alcohol addiction. Eventually kicked out of their apartment, Wood and his wife, Kathleen O’Hara, moved in with a friend in North Hollywood. It was there that Wood died of a heart attack on December 10, 1978, at the age of 54. The phrase ‘before their time’ was coined for people like him. He is often referenced by widely popular and highly successful present-day film directors as one of their major influences.

By Ken Warren, 2017/18

Watch the trailer of what is considered Ed Wood’s signature movie “Plan 9 From Outer Space” from 1959

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