Cameron CroweIt is a rare chance that by the age of 16 an aspiring writer would find himself dropping out of school to become an editor at one of the nationâ€(tm)s most popular magazines, but that is exactly what happened to Cameron Crowe, who was born on this day in 1957. If the story sounds familiar, thatâ€(tm)s because his road to the top inspired the Oscar-winning 2000 film, Almost Famous.

Along the way to becoming a writer-director, Crowe profiled such legends as Bob Dylan, David Bowie and more. In 1979 he returned to high school as research for a book, which instead resulted in the popular screenplay that launched the career of future Oscar winners Sean Penn and Forest Whitaker: Fast Times at Ridgemont High. His second directorial feature, Say Anything…, is iconic in its romantic comedy imagery (John Cusack wooing his young love by holding up a boom box outside of her window), as have become moments in his other films, including Singles, Jerry Maguire and Vanilla Sky.

Quotable: “You cannot make friends with the rock stars… You will get free records from the record company. And theyâ€(tm)ll buy you drinks, youâ€(tm)ll meet girls, theyâ€(tm)ll try to fly you places for free, offer you drugs. I know, it sounds great. But they are not your friends. These are people who want you to write sanctimonious stories about the genius of the rocks stars, and they will ruin rock and roll and strangle everything we love about it.” –Philip Seymour Hoffman as passionate rock journalist Lester Bangs in Almost Famous.