Penelope Spheeris Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (11)  | Personal Quotes (9)  | Salary (1)

Overview (2)

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Height 5' 6½" (1.69 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Spheeris is often referred to as a 'rock 'n roll anthropologist'.

In 1974 she formed the first Los Angeles music video production company, ROCK 'N REEL. She concluded her music video work with the Grammy-nominated, "Bohemian Rhapsody" video for "Wayne's World". Spheeris' feature film debut was the 1979 documentary on the Los Angeles punk scene, "The Decline of Western Civilization" which was received with stunning and unanimous critical praise. In 1983 she wrote and directed "Suburbia", produced by Roger Corman. It is a disturbing and prophetic story of rebellious, homeless kids squatting in abandoned houses, trying to make new families, and protecting one another. "Suburbia" won first place at the Chicago Film Festival. Almost 25 years later her documentary, "The Decline of Western Civilization, Part III" would eerily mirror the events she scripted in "Suburbia". In the mid-80s she directed "The Boys Next Door", starring Charlie Sheen and Maxwell Caulfield, then "Dudes" starring John Cryer, Flea, and Daniel Roebuck. Both films have attained cult classic status. "The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II: The Metal Years" was released in 1988, again to spectacular critical acclaim. Commentaries from Ozzy Osbourne, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, Lemmy of Motorhead, Poison, etc. make it one of the most memorable pieces of rock film history.

In 1992, Spheeris directed her seventh feature, and first studio film, "Wayne's World" at Paramount Pictures. Subsequently she directed and produced "The Beverly Hillbillies" (Fox), wrote and directed "The Little Rascals" (Universal), then directed "Black Sheep" (Paramount), etc. In 1999, Spheeris documented The Ozzfest, America's most successful summer concert tour, and the reunion performances of the original Black Sabbath. Both as director and one of the cinematographers, Spheeris achieved a remarkable and historic film which offers the audience a unique view of life on the road: "We Sold Our Souls For Rock 'N Roll".

(2016) She is currently touring with her Producer/daughter Anna Fox, screening "The Decline" trilogy in support of the Shout Factory DVD release.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Penelope Spheeris

Spouse (1)

Bob Biggs (7 July 1977 - 14 December 1984) ( divorced)

Trivia (11)

She admits that she has two distinct careers, one where she does mainstream Hollywood films like Wayne's World (1992) and the other, where she does independent music themed documentaries like the "Decline of Western Civilization" films.
She studied psychobiology (studying how the brain reacts to external forces) and film in college, eventually attending the film program at UCLA. After college, she produced short and feature length films directed by comic Albert Brooks, some of which were shown during the first season of Saturday Night Live (1975).
She was the oldest of four children. She often had to look after her siblings because her dad was killed when she was seven and her mom worked several jobs. She often chooses to interview musicians with troubled backgrounds because she feels her background was just as troubled.
Is first cousin of Greek/French director Costa-Gavras.
Declined the offer to direct This Is Spinal Tap (1984), because she thought you couldn't make fun of Heavy Metal music.
Daughter of 'Gypsy' Spheeris.
Second cousin of Julie Gavras and Romain Gavras.
Mother, with Robert Schoeller, of Anna Spheeris.
Mother-in-law of Damon Fox.
She has directed one film that has been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: The Decline of Western Civilization (1981).

Personal Quotes (9)

The Decline of Western Civilization (1981) was financed by two businessmen from the Valley who wanted to finance films. They had no idea I was going in to pitch a punk rock movie.
I generally think about myself as someone who studies human behavior and is trying to figure out what the hell is going on in our current society. If I can leave any film that helps define a certain time after I'm dead then that's great.
[on why she does documentaries about metal and punk music] "I mean, look, you don't see me making documentaries on Britney Spears, you know what I mean? Sweetheart of a little girl, you know. Or Madonna. That's not my thing. I just like this harder edge stuff. That's just me."
["After Wayne's World (1992), you directed a bunch of studio fodder including The Little Rascals (1994) and Senseless (1998). What steered you in this direction?") When someone offers you $2.5 million to direct a film, you just fucking take it. I took the money and made a bunch of movies - The Little Rascals (1994), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Black Sheep (1996) and Senseless (1998). After I did Wayne's World (1992) - I tried like hell to direct movies I had written and books that I wanted to adapt for film. I tried so hard to do something beside television remakes but I couldn't get anything going. That is where the sexism in the film industry becomes all too apparent. If I was a guy, I swear to God I would have been able to get my own shit going after "Wayne's World".
My whole career up until Wayne's World (1992) didn't produce any monetary funds. When I directed Wayne's World, I made close to $150,000 - the biggest payday I had to date. My percentage points from Wayne's World enabled me to pay off all of the debts from my previous works, but I only came up even in the end.
[on Mike Myers] I hated that bastard for years. But when I saw Austin Powers, I went, 'I forgive you, Mike. You can be moody, you can be a jerk, you can be things that others of us can't be - because you are profoundly talented. And I forgive you.'
L.A. is the make-it city where everyone wants to be a star and so frustration is at its epitome.
Punk rockers are the termites in the woodwork of society. But somehow I love them.
[on why kids in the Los Angeles punk scene are so angry] These kids see the good life every day on TV. They see how perfect the world can be and they get frustrated because it isn't perfect for them.

Salary (1)

Wayne's World (1992) $150,000

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