After his discharge from the Marines Wood joined a carnival was part of the freak show in which he played the bearded lady breasts and reportedly inflated his nipples with air to increase his bust size. It was in 1947 that Edward Wood found his way to Hollywood California where he began to write produce and direct cheap B rated science-fiction, horror, and Western films. His films during this period were noted for having strange plots, bizarre dialogue, and poverty row budgets.
In 1952 Wood met legendary horror actor Bela Lugosi through a mutual friend, writer-producer Alex Gordon, who was Wood’s roommate at the time. This meeting did not take place in a coffin shop as depicted in Tim Burton film's Ed Wood (1996). Facing financial hardship and a lack of work, Lugosi would star in three to Wood’s B-rated productions, Glen or Glenda (1953), Bride of the Monster (1956), which would be Lugosi last speaking role and Plan Nine from Outer Space (1956) which would be his final film appearance.
During the early 1950’s Wood had a long-term relationship with an actress/songwriter Dolores Fuller. The two live together for some time and Wood cast Fuller in three of his films, Glen or Glenda(1953) an exploitative semi-documentary originally titled I Changed My Sex!, Jail Bait(1954) and Bride of the Monster (1956) Wood and Fuller broke up after Wood picked Loretta King to play the female lead in Bride of the Monster(1956).
In 1955 Wood married Norma McCarty while filming Bride of the Monster (1956). McCarty would later play the stewardess in Plan Nine from Outer Space (1956). The marriage was annulled when McCarty discovered that her husband was a cross-dresser. Wood married his second wife Kathy O’Hare in 1959, they remained married until 1978 when Wood of a heart attack.
What Wood lacked in talent he made up for in tenacity. The dismal reviews and poor financial performance of his films forced Wood to find another means of support. Wood turned his creative talents to writing sex novels, pulp fiction and horror stories. Although prolific, he did not prosper and struggled with financial hardships, alcoholism and health issues for the remainder of his life. Wood and his wife Kathleen O’Hare were evicted from their apartment and moved in with a friend. It was there at his friend’s apartment on December 10, 1978 that Ed Wood died from a heart attack at the age of 54.
In 1980, Ed Wood was posthumously awarded the Golden Turkey Award for Worst Director of All Time. In 1996, Reverend Steve Galindo of Seminole, Oklahoma, created a legally recognized religion with Wood as its official savior. Originally meant as a joke, the Church of Ed Wood now boasts a congregation over 3,000 followers. Woodites, as the church members are referred to, celebrate Woodmas on October 10, which is Wood’s birthday. A number of parties and concerts are held throughout the world in celebration of Woodmas each year.