->''"It's safe to say that in the course of making some of the worst movies possible, Ed Wood has brought more joy to more people than 99 percent of the artists who've ever lived. If that doesn't inspire you, then you're dead inside."''
-->--'''Nimby Smith''', ''{{Website/Cracked}}.com'': ''[[http://www.cracked.com/article/170_5-people-who-failed-their-way-to-fame-fortune 5 People Who Failed Their Way to Fame And Fortune]]''

%%->''"Ed finally became the hot Hollywood property he always wanted to be - [[{{Irony}} he only had to be dead to do it.]]"''
%%-->--''Ed Wood: Look Back in Angora''

Who was Ed Wood?

Short Answer: Edward Davis Wood Jr. (October 10, 1924 December 10, 1978) was that rare mix of [[GiftedlyBad relentless motivation and determination combined with a complete lack of natural talent]]. He was that guy who made ''Film/Plan9FromOuterSpace'' and a bunch of other crappy movies. [[WholesomeCrossdresser He also liked to wear dresses.]]

Long Answer: Throughout his life, Ed Wood loved movies and wanted to make his own. In his teenage years, he became a Marine (eventually claiming to have fought at [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tarawa the Battle of Tarawa]] while wearing a bra and panties under his uniform; of this experience he once said that he wasn't afraid of being killed, but he was scared of being merely wounded - because he was afraid a medic would discover his secret). Later, he would join a freak show as a bearded lady. In the late forties, Wood would begin his career in movies. One of his first works was a play called ''Casual Company'', based on a novel that was based on his life at the Marines. To foreshadow what was to come, the play suffered from extremely negative reviews.

Ed Wood dabbled in television pilots, such as a soap ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORaTEyK2LBA Sun Was Setting]]'' (which amusingly had the alternative title of ''[[Film/{{Soapdish}} The Sun Also Sets]]'') starring ComicBook/LoisLane herself, [[Series/TheAdventuresOfSuperman Phyllis Coates]], and ''Crossroad Avenger'', which featured many of his ProductionPosse; the Western circled around The Tuscon Kid, who was a good old cowboy and insurance claims investigator. He even made ''television ad pilots'', which advertised [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAo7_4i7oJo non-existant products]], presumably a demo reel to show off his skills.

His first actual film would be in 1953, ''Film/GlenOrGlenda'' (based loosely on his novel ''Death Of A Transvestite''), a semi-autobiographical tale about transsexuality and Ed Wood's love for crossdressing. During this time, he met and eventually became friends with Creator/BelaLugosi. This was when the ''Film/{{Dracula|1931}}'' days were long gone and people thought he was dead, but this didn't stop Ed Wood from thinking of him as a legend among men. Bela would take a small part in ''Glen Or Glenda'' as a narrator now known for yelling "''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-8j8c7iL3E PULL THE STRING!!!]]''" while clips of bison stampeding were shown.

Ed Wood later became part of the B-Movie scene, befriending people such as Vampira (TheFifties equivalent of Creator/ElviraMistressOfTheDark) and [[PhonyPsychic the Amazing Criswell]]. In 1955, he wrote and directed his first horror film ''Film/BrideOfTheMonster''. It starred Bela Lugosi as a mad scientist, a 400-pound wrestler named Tor Johnson as the hulking sidekick, and stock footage of an octopus.

Wood wrote a successful film, ''Film/TheBrideAndTheBeast'', directed by Adrian Weiss, complete with a weird TwistEnding. With his uncanny financial sense, however, the money he earned didn't last long.

Wood began work on a film called ''The Ghoul Goes West'', an intended expansion of his previous unfinished cowboy film "Crossroads of Laredo" - but now with Bela Lugosi and horror elements added in. Unfortunately, Lugosi died after filming a small scene. Wood improvised and used these clips for his next film, the now infamous ''Film/Plan9FromOuterSpace''. Produced by Southern Baptist ministers, the film would feature aliens using zombies to stop humans from destroying the Earth. Vampira, Tor Johnson, a bad Bela Lugosi stand-in, and Criswell, also appeared. The film was finished in 1956, but was not released until 1959 due to lack of a proper distributor.

After filming ''Film/NightOfTheGhouls'', which would not get released until 1987, Wood would turn to writing for exploitation films, such as ''Film/TheViolentYears'' and ''Film/TheSinisterUrge''. The former was a long-running B-movie circuit hit, but Wood only earned $500 from it. Then in the early seventies and the last years of his life, he would end up writing for porn flicks, a career that did not agree with him: although Wood's previous films were bad, they were never sleazy. Wood's alcoholism spiraled out of control, and by the end he and his wife Kathy were so poor that they were evicted out of their flophouse apartment. Three days later Wood died of a heart attack at a friend's house while watching football. According to Rudolph Grey's book, "Nightmare of Ecstasy", the medics carried Ed's body away in plastic garbage bags.

Two years later, Wood was named "Worst Director of All Time" and Plan 9 was named "Worst Movie Ever Made" in a book called ''The Golden Turkey Awards''. By this point Ed Wood was long forgotten and most people who read the book had never heard of him. This "Award" created a resurgence of interest, resulting in a whole new audience of fans, and cult status for Ed Wood. He became the focus of an entire segment of ''Film/ItCameFromHollywood''. Three of his films were riffed by ''[[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]]''. One of his scripts was made into a 1998 film, ''I Woke Up Early The Day I Died''. Even a small religious group became named after Ed Wood.

In 1991, Wood's life became the subject of a biography titled ''Nightmare Of Ecstasy'', written by Rudolph Grey. It would become the basis for the 1994 film ''Film/EdWood'' by Creator/TimBurton starring Creator/JohnnyDepp as Ed Wood. Deviating from the general real-life consensus of Wood, Burton's film was an affectionate portrayal of a man who tried his hardest, against all odds, to make his dreams come true. The film did not perform well at the box office, but was praised by critics, and eventually became a CultClassic. One good-natured reviewer described it as, "The story of the least successful director of all time, as told by one of the most successful directors of all time." At the 1994 Academy Awards, Martin Landau won Best Supporting Actor for his extraordinary performance as Bela Lugosi. Ed Wood's legacy as one of the worst directors will never be forgotten.
Feature films both written and directed by Wood. He also wrote scripts for other directors.
* ''Film/GlenOrGlenda'' (1953)
* ''Film/JailBait'' (1954)
* ''Film/BrideOfTheMonster'' (1955)
* ''Film/Plan9FromOuterSpace'' (directed in 1956, released in 1958/1959)
* ''Film/NightOfTheGhouls'' (1959)
* ''Film/TheSinisterUrge'' (1961)
* ''Film/TakeItOutInTrade'' (1970)
* ''{{Film/Excited}}'' (1970)
* ''Film/TheOnlyHouse'' (1971)
* ''{{Film/Necromania}}'' (1971)
* ''Film/TheYoungMarrieds'' (1971)

!!Ed Wood is known for these tropes:

* TheAlcoholic: Which literally killed him - he died from alcohol-related problems.
* AlliterativeName: One of his professional pseudonyms was '''D'''anny '''D'''avis.
* AuthorAppeal: Angora, Creator/BelaLugosi, monsters, cowboys
* BadBadActing
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Not a bunny ears filmmaker, oh no, no, but a Bunny Ears Marine. He fought in some of the worst WWII Pacific bloodbaths and came back with a chest full of medals. And he claimed to do at least one battle while wearing women's underwear.
** And he lost all his front teeth when a Japanese soldier hit Ed in the mouth with the butt of his gun.
* CampStraight: Ignoring his crossdressing, Wood was flamboyant on his own, but was very much a LoveableSexManiac into women.
* CantHoldHisLiquor: Unfortunately, not only could Wood not hold his liquor -- a bad enough trait for an alcoholic -- but he was a violent, nasty one according to his friends.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: As ''Ed Wood: Look Back in Angora'' would state, "[[Film/GlenOrGlenda Only Ed Wood would cast Dracula... as God!]]"
* CryingWolf: While complications from his alcoholism probably still would've killed him, the heart attacks he'd fake to his wife as a cruel practical joke didn't help when he had his very real fatal one. It's rumored that she even yelled at him to shut up when [[CassandraTruth he called for help]].
* DeadArtistsAreBetter: He actually lived most of his life in obscurity. It was only after his death that he really gained recognition.
* {{Determinator}}: The man survived the bloodiest Allied battle in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII - he applied that same drive to making films. No matter what obstacles, he was going to get that movie made, dammit.
-->'''John Andrews:''' When they were shooting ''Film/BrideOfTheMonster'' up in Griffith Park, and he dug out that lagoon of a thing, for the octopus... it was cold, and Jesus, midnight, and it was stolen... Bela was drunk, and stoned, and loaded out of his mind... and HE got in the water! So, it was pretty wild times, and fun times, it was good times, making pictures. That's the only thing that counts is getting the thing on film. That's all that mattered. No matter what you have to do.
* DownerEnding: How his life ended unfortunately. Ed Wood's depression reached an all time crushing low and he turned to chronic alcohol abuse. He and his wife were evicted from their Hollywood flat, and Ed Wood died just a few days later from a heart attack bought on by his alcoholism, and his widow Kathy never remarried or was able to get over his death until her own in 2006. That said...
** BittersweetEnding: He managed to achieve his dream of being a famous director, and having people enjoy his films, albeit not in the way he probably would have envisioned originally, which probably wouldn't be so bad as Wood would have been just happy people enjoyed his films; it isn't hyperbole -- see the Heartwarming Moments under Creator for evidence.
* GiftedlyBad: Ed is probably the best filmic example.
* IJustWantToBeSpecial: Ed got excited when he got a letter about an "Ed Wood Day" in New York in which a bunch of people got together to watch a bunch of his films (presumably the same way friends would get together to watch ''Film/{{Showgirls}}'' or ''Film/TheRoom''), showing the letter to friends. He was happy just to be remembered.
* InsultBackfire:
** What the ''Golden Turkey Awards'' writers tried to do when voting Wood the Worst Director and ''Plan 9'' Worst Movie. What happened was it made cinemaphiles look back on Wood's career and begin honoring him for [[GiftedlyBad both his poor vision and his great heart]].
** It didn't work when Wood was alive, either. According to ''Plan 9'' lead Mona [=McKinnon=]:
--->"There was a book that came out, The Count: The life and films of Bela "Dracula" Lugosi, and it said, 'Edw. D. Wood Jr., producer, director, promoter, made the worst movies in Hollywood.' And it went on and on, panning him. It took his pictures apart. Eddie just laughed. He thought that was so funny."
* {{Keet}}: Oh, the enthusiasm he put into every film for sure. Rare films of Wood directing his films show him gallivanting around the set, joking with actors and having an enormously good time. ''Look Back in Angora'' described him as "pixie-ish".
* LoveableSexManiac: As he said in ''The Photographer'': "I like girls, girls, girls, girls, girls! Tall ones, fat ones, skinny ones, it doesn't matter - blond hair, brunettes, redheads... girls! Girls! The only problem is - there isn't enough time for them!"
* ManlyTears: Kathy Wood said she first saw him, he was crying in a bar over something, which attracted her to him, saying she had a thing for lost puppies.
* NiceGuy - By all reports, Ed Wood was a good-natured, optimistic, passionate sweetheart of a guy who was incredibly supportive and encouraging of the people he worked with.
* OffTheShelfFX
* RealMenWearPink: He was a tough as nails Marine who loved Angora sweaters.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: Wood did direct and/or write ''very'' successful films, but didn't get much money out of it. For instance, ''Film/TheViolentYears'' was a long-running theatrical release, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars - but Wood only made $500 off it.
* StockFootage: He frequently used it in his films; far too often it tended not to match the footage he filmed himself.
* SweaterGirl - Not the crossdressing Wood himself, but his girlfriend.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory - ''Glen Or Glenda'', which somehow became about Ed's own transvestite tendencies.
* WholesomeCrossdresser
"Aim for the stars and if, at the end of your life, you've only reached Mars, remember one thing. Stars flicker in and flash out. Mars is a planet. A constant light. A stable entry that will be here as long as life itself." - Ed Wood, ''Hollywood Rat Race''