Spike Lee

Spike Lee

Actor, Director, Producer, Camera Operator

BIO

Spike Lee was born Shelton Lee in 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from a proud and intelligent background. His father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a school teacher. His mother dubbed him Spike, due to his tough nature. He attended school in Morehouse College in Atlanta and developed his film making skills at Clark Atlanta University. After graduating, he went to the Tisch School of Arts graduate film program. He made a controversial short, The Answer (1980), a reworking of D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915) -- a ten-minute film. Lee went on to produce a 45-minute film Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (1983), which won a student academy award. Lee's next film, "The Messenger," in 1984, was somewhat biographical. In 1986, Spike Lee made the film, She's Gotta Have It (1986), a comedy about sexual relationships. The movie was made for 175,000 dollars, and made seven million. Since then, Lee has become a well-known, intelligent, and talented film maker. His next movie was School Daze (1988), which was set in a historically black school and focused mostly on the conflict between the school and the Fraternities, of which he was a strong critic, portraying them as materialistic, irresponsible, and uncaring. Lee went on to do his landmark film, Do the Right Thing (1989), a movie specifically about his own town in Brooklyn, New York. The movie portrayed a neighborhood on a very hot day, and the racial tensions that emerge. The movie garnered an Oscar nomination, for Danny Aiello, for supporting actor. It also sparked a debate on racial relations. Lee went on to produce the jazz biopic Mo' Better Blues (1990) which showed his talent for directing and acting, and was the first of many Spike Lee films to feature Denzel Washington. His next film, Jungle Fever (1991), was about interracial dating. Lee's handling of the subject proved yet again highly controversial. Lee's next film was the self-titled biography of Malcolm X (1992), which had Denzel Washington portraying the civil rights leader. The movie was a success, and resulted in an Oscar nomination for Washington. His next films were the comparatively light, Crooklyn (1994), and the intense crime drama, Clockers (1995). In 1996, Lee directed two movies: the badly received comedy, Girl 6 (1996), and the politically pointed, Get on the Bus (1996), about a group of men going to the Million Man March. His next film, He Got Game (1998), proved to be another excursion into the collegiate world as he shows the darker side of recruiting college athletes. The movie, in limited release, yet again featured Denzel Washington. In 2000 came Bamboozled which made a mockery out of television and the way African-Americans are perceived by white America and the way African-Americans perceive themselves. The movie, however, was a resounding critical success. Lee also has produced films like New Jersey Drive (1995), Tales from the Hood (1995), and Drop Squad (1994). He also has produced and or directed movies about Huey P. Newton, Jim Brown, and has commented in many documentaries about varied subjects. With pointed political messages, insightful, different and intelligent films, Spike Lee has become a well known political presence. He looks likely to have further success in the film business. Lee is an obsessive New York Knicks fan. He and his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, have two children.

Birthday

March 20, 1957

Place of birth

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Known for

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5

Brooklyn Boheme

Brooklyn Boheme is a love letter to a vibrant African American artistic community who resided in ... Read more

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French Cinema Mon Amour

French Cinema Mon Amour is an ensemble film in which each contributor brings their own voice, the... Read more

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8.5

4 Little Girls

A documentary of the notorious racial terrorist bombing of an African American church during the ... Read more

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7.5

Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet

Ten Minutes Older is a 2002 film project consisting of two compilation feature films entitled The... Read more

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If God Is Willing and da Creek Don't Rise

In 2006, director Spike Lee created an astonishing record of the cataclysmic effects of Hurricane... Read more

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A Huey P. Newton Story

A Huey P. Newton Story is a 2001 film directed by Spike Lee. It is a filmed performance of Roger ... Read more

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10

Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall

Director Spike Lee assembles a wealth of archival footage, interviews with contemporary talents a... Read more

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5

By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm X

A short documentary about the making of Spike Lee's biopic, 'Malcolm X'. Read more

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10

Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks

Reggie Miller single-handedly crushed the hearts of Knick fans multiple times. But it was the 199... Read more

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7.5

Street Fight

This documentary follows the 2002 mayoral campaign in Newark, New Jersey in which the Cory Booker... Read more

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Throw Like A Girl

The best summer of her life is only the beginning for 13-year-old Mo’ne Davis. With the support o... Read more

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Kobe Doin' Work

A documentary following Kobe Bryant during one day of the 2008 NBA playoffs. Read more

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6.1

Jim Brown: All-American

Jim Brown: All-American is a 2002 documentary film directed by Spike Lee. The film takes a look a... Read more

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Bad 25

Spike Lee pays tribute to Michael Jackson's Bad on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the epochal al... Read more

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The Last Party

A youthful perspective on the 1992 presidential campaign with a witty, cautionary message to youn... Read more

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7

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts

In August 2005, the American city of New Orleans was struck by the powerful Hurricane Katrina. Al... Read more

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6.7

When We Were Kings

It's 1974. Muhammad Ali is 32 and thought by many to be past his prime. George Forman is ten year... Read more

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Genesis: Come Rain or Shine

Come Rain or Shine is an unusually frank and humorous music documentary about the band Genesis ge... Read more