James Cameron, 1954–, Canadian motion-picture director and screenwriter, b. Kapuskasing, Ont. Beginning as a screenwriter and then art director, he first directed in 1981. His science-fiction blockbuster Terminator (1984) was the first of many films to display the dazzling special effects and the thematic fascination with technology and its ramifications that are his hallmarks, and other sci-fi films—Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)—followed. His Titanic (1997) marked a break with his sci-fi work; one of the most expensive films ever, it earned record profits and best picture and best director Academy Awards. After focusing on a sci-fi television series and documentary films in the early 2000s, he returned to feature films with Avatar (2009), a 3-D sci-fi allegory popular with critics and the public. It set a new record for film costs and also one for profits. In 2012 Cameron descended nearly 7 mi (11 km) into the Marianas trench in the Pacific in the Deepsea Challenger, a submersible of his own design, in preparation for a projected 3-D movie and National Geographic Society special.
See biography by R. Keegan (2009); studies by B. McMeans (2002) and A. Keller (2006).