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John Waters’ age, net worth, first role, most famous roles, and more

A brief history of the Pope of Trash.

John Waters attends the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 23, 2019 in Santa Monica, California.
Photo via John Shearer / Getty Images

Hollywood has had more than its share of entertainers filtering through to offer their talents to the entertainment industry, and in turn the world, but you could arguably say that one hasn’t truly left their mark on show business without, well, literally leaving their mark on Hollywood.

After several decades as an actor and director, John Waters has finally achieved this feat – cementing himself among the biggest entertainers by getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. To mark the occasion, let’s unpack a little bit about the prolific performer, and share a brief history of his ascent to the Hollywood elite.

John Waters’ age and net worth

John Waters attends the 69th Annual Writers Guild Awards New York ceremony at Edison Ballroom on February 19, 2017 in New York City.
Photo via Noam Galai / WireImage

Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland – Waters was born on April 22, 1946 – and celebrated his 77th birthday in 2023. Unlike many of Hollywood’s biggest names, he does not come from a line of performers, entertainers, and studio executives, though he is a descendant of the Whitaker family – which made an indelible mark on America’s iron and steel industries in the 19th and 20th centuries (via The Washington Post).

As for his bank account, Waters’ most recent estimated net worth comes in around $50 million (via Celebrity Net Worth), with said fortune mostly seeming to stem from his various contributions to show business. When you’ve been in the game since the ‘60s and have over 40 acting credits to your name, a hefty bank account is likely to be expected.

John Waters’ early career and rise to prominence

ohn Waters attends the red carpet of the movie "Soul" during the 15th Rome Film Festival on October 15, 2020 in Rome, Italy.
Photo via Daniele Venturelli / WireImage

Waters’ first foray into show business was in the director’s chair – having written and directed  the 1964 short film Hag in a Black Leather Jacket. He was most active as a writer and director throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, sporadically stepping in front of the camera. His first recorded role (via IMDb) is as the voice of a reporter in 1969’s Mondo Trasho.

Waters arguably made himself into a household name with 1972’s Pink Flamingos, and well and truly cemented that status by 1988 with the iconic Hairspray. Of course, Waters’ filmography doesn’t start and stop with two movies – he’s churned out many a cult classic. By the turn of the 21st Century, Waters slowed his roll on directing, and by the 2010’s was focusing more on voice acting. Having stepped away from filmmaking following 2004’s A Dirty Shame, Waters is making a grand return by way of the yet-to-be-released Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance.

Peter Kohnke
About the author

Peter Kohnke

Peter is an Associate Editor at We Got This Covered, based in Australia. He loves sinking his time into grindy MMO's like Destiny 2, Final Fantasy XIV, and Old School RuneScape. Peter holds a Masters Degree in Media from Macquarie University in Sydney, AU, and dabbled with televised business/finance journalism in a past life.