Guillermo del Toro is turning 53 today. He began making homemade shorts with a Super 8 camera as a child. He made two shorts in his early twenties and worked as a makeup artist on several Mexican films before making his first feature in 1993, a horror film titled Cronos that received critical praise and was his first time working with actor Ron Perlman. Like many of his subsequent films it had some kind of fantasy/sci-fi element, as did his first Hollywood film, Mimic.
Del Toro has not been a hitmaker as a director; his biggest commercial success was probably Blade II, which of all his directing efforts was likely the one over which he had the least creative control. However, almost all of his films since the turn of the century have received positive critical responses. He has made two films in Spain, The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, the latter of which won three Oscars out of six nominations. His American productions include Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak, the upcoming The Shape of Water, and the two Hellboy films.