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Biography
James Francis Cameron is an Academy Award-winning Canadian-American director, producer and screenwriter. He has written and directed films as disparate as Aliens and Titanic. To date, his directorial efforts have grossed approximately US$1.1 billion domestically, unadjusted for inflation. After a string of landmark feature films, Cameron turned his focus to documentary filmmaking and the co-development of the digital 3-D Fusion Camera System. He is currently working on a return to feature filmmaking with the science fiction film Avatar, which will make use of the Fusion Camera System technology. Avatar is scheduled for release in December 2009.

Cameron is noted for his films—which are often highly innovative, artistic and financially successful—as well as his fierce temper and confrontational personality.

Background
Cameron was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, the son of Shirley, an artist and nurse, and Phillip Cameron, an electrical engineer. He grew up in Chippawa, Ontario and attended Stamford Collegiate in Niagara Falls, and his family moved to Fullerton, California in 1971. While he studied physics and English at California State University, Fullerton, Cameron used every opportunity to visit the film archive of UCLA. To the surprise of many people, although Cameron had a large educational background in the natural sciences, he chose a philosophy major from The University of Toronto in 1973. Cameron says of his time there that he was,

    "completely self taught in special effects. I'd go down to the USC library and pull any theses that graduate students had written about optical printing, or front screen projection, or dye transfers, anything that related to film technology…if they'd let me photocopy it, I would. If not, I'd make notes."

After dropping out, he worked several jobs such as truck driving and wrote when he had time. After seeing the film Star Wars in 1977, Cameron quit his job as a truck driver to enter the film industry. When Cameron read Syd Field's book Screenplay, it occurred to him that integrating science and art were possible and he wrote a ten minute science fiction script with two friends, entitled Xenogenesis. They raised money and rented a camera, lenses, the film stocks, studio and shot it in 35 mm. To understand how to operate the camera, they dismantled it and spent the first half-day of the shoot trying to figure out how to get it running.

Early career
As Cameron continued educating himself in techniques, he started as a miniature model maker at Roger Corman Studios. Making fast, low-budget productions enabled Cameron to pick up the pace efficiently and effectively, soon becoming an art director in the sci-fi movie Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), and he did special effects work design and direction on John Carpenter's Escape from New York (1981). He consulted on the design of Android (1981), and acted as production designer on Galaxy of Terror (1981).

Cameron was hired as the special effects director for the sequel of Piranha, entitled Piranha II: The Spawning in 1981. However, the director left the project and Cameron was hired by Italian producer Assonitis to take over, giving him his first directorial job. He worked with producer Roger Corman. The interior scenes were filmed in Rome, Italy while the underwater diving sequences were shot at Grand Cayman Island.

The movie was to be produced on Jamaica, but when Cameron arrived at the studio, he discovered his crew was comprised primarily of Italians who spoke no English and the project was under financed. Under duress, Cameron says he had a nightmare about an invisible robot hit man sent from the future to kill him, giving him the idea for The Terminator, which would later catapult his filming career.


Awards
Cameron received the Bradbury Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 1991—but, being primarily thought of as a genre filmmaker, he did not receive any major mainstream filmmaking awards prior to Titanic. With Titanic, Cameron received the Academy Awards for Best Editing (shared with Conrad Buff and Richard A. Harris), Best Picture (shared with Jon Landau), and Best Director. He also won a Golden Globe for best director for the film.

In recognition of his contributions to underwater filming and remote vehicle technology, the University of Southampton awarded Cameron the honorary degree of Doctor of the University. Cameron received his degree in person at the graduation ceremony in July, 2004.

On June 3, 2008, it was announced that he would be inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.
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