Jarmusch, Jim(1953– ) film scriptwriter/director; born in Akron, Ohio. Son of a businessman and journalist, he attended Columbia University in New York City; after discovering European films in France, he became acquainted with Nicholas Ray and then set about making his first film, Permanent Vacation (1981); this was never released and it wasn't until Stranger Than Paradise (1984) that he gained both critical acclaim and a devoted if small following. Down by Law (1986) and Mystery Train (1989) increased his reputation as a maker of offbeat films, noted for their "European sensibility"—seemingly improvised, often antic elements, and a personalism that does not so much attack mainstream America as divert it.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.