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Edward Davis Wood, Jr. (October 10, 1924 – December 10, 1978), better known as Ed Wood, was an American screenwriter, director, producer, actor, author, and editor, who often performed many of these functions simultaneously. In the 1950s, Wood made a number of cheap genre films, now enjoyed for their technical errors, unsophisticated special effects, large amounts of ill-fitting stock footage, idiosyncratic dialogue, eccentric casts and outlandish plot elements, although his flair for showmanship gave his projects at least a modicum of critical success.
Wood's popularity waned soon after his biggest "name" star, Béla Lugosi, died. He was able to salvage a saleable feature from Lugosi's last moments on film, but his career declined thereafter. Toward the end of his life, Wood made pornographic movies and wrote pulp crime, horror, and sex novels. His infamy began two years after his death, when he was awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time. The lack of filmmaking ability in his work has earned Wood and his films a considerable cult following.
Following the publication of Rudolph Grey's biography Nightmare of Ecstasy: The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr. (1992), Wood's life and work have undergone a public rehabilitation of sorts, with new light shed on his evident zeal and honest love of movies and movie production. Tim Burton's biopic of the director's life, Ed Wood, earned two Academy Awards.
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