Robert Altman, born in Kansas City, had a long, hard climb to Hollywood success. Arriving in the film capital in the late 1940s, he had bit parts in one or two films and co-authored two storylines that were made into B-pictures, before having to return home with no money. He spent some years making industrial films and commercials before writing and directing a zero-budget independent movie in Canada called The Delinquents; this film and a documentary he co-directed about James Dean got him TV directing jobs on Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Whirlybirds, and he later directed several episodes of Bonanza. He always claimed that his TV experience was mainly useful for teaching him what not to do. A TV movie, Nightmare In Chicago, got rave reviews in 1964 and he made some small movies in the late 60s; then, in 1970, came "MASH". This low-budget comedy without stars was a sensational success, and, overnight, the 45-year-old Altman (who claimed he only got this directing job after sixteen others had turned it down) became one of the most sought-after directors in the world. His subsequent career was not without controversy, not without flops, but included such important films as McCabe And Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts and Gosford Park. He returned to TV in 1988 for the acclaimed mini-series Tanner '88. He was married three times. Shortly before his death, he had been directing an Arthur Miller play in London.