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Williamson, Kevin (b. 1965)  
 
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Screenwriter-producer-director Kevin Williamson has been called "the most successful openly gay hyphenate in Hollywood." He is perhaps best known as the writer of the clever, self-referential horror film Scream (1996) and the thriller I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), as well as the creator of the groundbreaking television teen soap opera Dawson's Creek (1998-2003).

Williamson has said he knew he was gay "as far back as I can remember." Although he came out to his family in 1992, it was not until 1998 that Williamson outed himself in the public arena. While promoting an episode of Dawson's Creek, which introduced a homosexual theme into the popular television series, he realized the time was right to come out publicly.

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"I just reached a point," Williamson recalled, "where [I thought], I'm gay, I've told my parents, all my friends, everybody I know knows I'm gay." Previously, when asked about his sexuality, Williamson said he had simply evaded the issue, and had been "more coy than in the closet" about it to the media.

Williamson has described his work as "very personal and autobiographical." With the remarkable success of his early screenplays, he increasingly has been able to establish gay themes and characters in his projects, particularly the gay teenage character on Dawson's Creek and the closeted soap opera actor on his short-lived series, Wasteland (1999).

Kevin Williamson was born on March 14, 1965 in New Bern, North Carolina. His family moved to Texas while Williamson was still a young child, first to Aransas Pass and later to Fulton, both near Corpus Christi, but returned to the Carolina coast when he was in his early teens.

Obsessed with movies since a child, Williamson applied to New York University's film school and was accepted; however, he could not afford the school's tuition and decided to attend a college closer to home, East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where he earned a B.A. in Theater Arts.

After graduating, Williamson moved to New York to pursue a career in acting. Unfulfilled by bit parts, particularly on soap operas such as Another World in 1990, he relocated to Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, he also struggled to find work as an actor, landing only a few small roles in television, films, and music videos. Taking temporary jobs as a dog walker and word processor, Williamson decided to turn his attention to writing.

While taking screenwriting classes at UCLA, he wrote his first script, the dark comedy Killing Mrs. Tingle, which was bought by a production company in the early 1990s but not actually produced until 1999, with Williamson himself directing, and the title changed to Teaching Mrs. Tingle.

Williamson's career jump-started in 1995 with the creation of the horror movie Scream (originally titled "Scary Movie"). His script was layered with playful allusions to horror-movie classics, such as Sean S. Cunningham's Friday the 13th (1980), Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), and especially John Carpenter's Halloween (1978), and populated with hip, quick-witted high school students savvy to the clichés of the horror-movie genre.

Williamson reportedly wrote the script in three days and hoped that even if it did not sell, "at least he could use it as a sample" of his work to get hired as a writer for a teen-related television series. He was stunned, however, to learn that his script had launched a bidding war among several major Hollywood studios. It was eventually bought by Miramax for its newly-created label Dimension Films.

Directed by the master of the genre, Wes Craven, Scream was a critical and popular triumph. It became the highest grossing horror movie of all time, and was credited by Time with "reviving the moribund [horror] genre and lifting its author into Hollywood's screenwriting elite."

Williamson's screenplay won a 1997 Saturn Award for best writing by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. He was also named one of Entertainment Weekly's Entertainers of the Year in 1997 and was included in Premier magazine's "Power 100 List" in 1998.

The tremendous success of Scream led to the equally successful sequel, Scream 2 (1997), also written by Williamson, which in turn spawned Scream 3 (2000), with a screenplay by Ehren Kruger and based on an outline by Williamson.

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