Sam Peckinpah, born David Samuel Peckinpah on February 21, 1925 in Fresno, California, was an acclaimed American film director and screenwriter. In 1943, Peckinpah enlisted in the Marines and served in the Pacific theater for the duration of the war. Once World War II ended, Peckinpah attended Fresno State College, where he first became interested in filmmaking. His first job was working as an assistant for director, Don Siegel, who helped Peckinpah secure writing jobs during the late 1950s. Peckinpah also began directing television shows during that time, working regularly into the 1960s. In the late 1960s, his feature film directing career finally began to take shape. Success came quickly, and in 1969 Peckinpah directed the film that would define his career, The Wild Bunch. Over the next decade, Peckinpah would direct a host of popular films, including titles such as Straw Dogs, The Getaway and Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. An alcoholic and drug addict for much of his adult life, Peckinpah died of heart failure on December 28, 1984.