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J. X. Williams

J.X. Williams is an American avant-garde filmmaker and director. Numerous critics have cited him to be one of the most influential figures in American avant-garde cinema (along with Stan Brakhage and Kenneth Anger). Williams was an innovative cult director for several notorious exploitation films produced in the 1960s and 1970s. Tarantino, Scorsese, Waters and other directors acknowledge a huge creative debt to Williams. His films are rarely exhibited due to legal issues and the poor condition of surviving prints. Born in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, he was raised in a working-class Jewish family with strong ties to organized labor and the Communist Party. His father, a set designer for Warner Brothers, was a labor agitator and his activities influenced Williams' early leftist leanings. After dropping out of high school, he took a job in the mailroom in RKO Studios and quickly rose through the ranks to become an assistant in the Writers' Division. Though never credited on any production, he was known to have Dore Schary's ear and would likely have been taken under contract if not for unforeseen events.

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