Often referred to as a Rock ‘n Roll anthropologist, Spheeris currently lives in Los Angeles.
As a child Penelope Spheeris lived with her family in different trailer parks throughout southern California. She spent her teenage years in Orange County, graduating from Westminster High School with a daunting ‘most likely to succeed’ label. Working as a waitress at Denny’s and IHOP, she put herself through film school.
A holder of a UCLA Master of Fine Arts degree in Theater Arts, she worked as a film editor and a cinematographer before forming her own company in 1974. ROCK ‘N REEL was the first Los Angeles production company specializing in music videos. She produced, directed, and edited videos for major bands through the Seventies and Eighties, concluding her music video work with the Grammy nominated, Bohemian Rhapsody video for WAYNE’S WORLD.
Spheeris’ feature film debut was the 1979 documentary on the Los Angeles punk scene, THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION which received stunning and unanimous critical praise.