John Thomas Sayles is a novelist, screenwriter, director, and actor. He was born in Schenectady, New York, on September 28, 1950. He earned a B.S. in psychology from Williams College in 1972. After graduating, Sayles earned a living as an orderly, a laborer, and a meat packer. Two novels and a collection of short stories were published in the 1970s. Sayles also wrote screenplays for B-movie king Roger Corman, contributing to such films as Piranha and Battle Beyond the Stars. In 1980 he wrote, directed, and acted in the film Return of the Secaucus Seven, which won the Best Screenplay award from the Los Angeles Film Critics and was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1983, Sayles received a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant," which provided him with $30,000 per year for five years. His work during this period included the films Baby it's You, Brother From Another Planet, and Matewan. Sayles also directed the Bruce Springsteen music videos, "Born in the U.S.A.," "I'm on Fire," and "Glory Days." He also created a television series in 1989 called Shannon's Deal. Sayles has received an O. Henry Award, a best director award from the Seattle Film Festival, a Taskforce Award, and Academy Award nominations for the screenplays for Passion Fish and Lone Star. He also wrote the screenplay for, directed, and performed in the critically acclaimed film, Eight Men Out.