John Waters is Getting His Own Academy Museum Exhibit & Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

SERIAL MOM, John Waters, 1994
Savoy Pictures/Everett Collection

John Waters is enjoying some well-deserved recognition. Not only is he getting his very own exhibit at the Academy Museum starting Sept. 17 but receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame the very next day. The exhibit called John Waters: Pope of Trash at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will feature several screenings including a rare screening of 1968’s Eat Your Makeup with commentary from Waters as well as props and stories from his long-running career.

Waters is not only a celebrated filmmaker, but actor, author, and lover of collectible art and fashion. He admitted that he was very surprised when the museum approached him about doing an exhibit about his career. He shared, “I just think it’s amazing and just an example for any kid that starts out being obsessed by doing something that everybody tells them they can’t do. But eventually, if you just have a sense of humor about yourself, you’ll survive and people will grow to respect what you’ve done. You mustn’t brag about yourself. You have to laugh at yourself first if you’re in show business, and I think that gets you a long way.”

SEED OF CHUCKY, John Waters, 2004

Rogue Pictures/Everett Collection

He added about what will be featured in the exhibit, “I mean, the curators, Jenny He and Dara Jaffe, have gone all over the world. It’s like a snipe hunt. They found neighbors of where we made Polyester that I had no idea were still holding on to props from it. They went to my film archive at Wesleyan University that I’ve had for a long, long time. I don’t even know what’s in there because I started giving them stuff in the mid-’80s. So I’ve never really gone back and looked, except when I was writing my last book, Mr. Know-It-All. I went back for press stuff to remember box office grosses and letters, to just remember what happened. But no, I haven’t even seen the whole show myself. I’ve seen the catalog, which is beautiful. It has really wonderful essays in it. I don’t know — I’m going to be surprised myself. I don’t see it till the day before it opens.”

MANSFIELD 66/67, John Waters, 2017

FilmBuff/Everett Collection

Waters, who was kicked out of NYU for having pot, used it as motivation to do what he really wanted to do: make movies. He moved back home to Baltimore and completed two short films called Roman Candles and Eat Your Makeup. He quickly worked on feature-length films Mondo Trasho and Multiple Maniacs. He rose to fame in the early ’70s, known for his unique filmmaking style. One of his most iconic pieces of work was 1988’s Hairspray, which he wrote and directed. He’s also known for Polyester (1981), Cry-Baby (1990), Serial Mom (1994), Pecker (1998), and Cecil B. Demented (2000).

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Director John Waters attends The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

He concluded about getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, “I’d just like to have the lowest person that comes to Hollywood — that’s ugly and wants to be a movie star or untalented and wants to be a director — and have them walk over my star and feel a little bit of hope. That’s what it’s for.” Click here to learn more about the exhibit and get tickets to the screenings.

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