Spike Lee

Biography

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.

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.

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Personal Info

Gender Male

Known Credits 77

Birthday 1957-03-20

Place of Birth Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Adult Actor False

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • Shelton Lee
  • Shelton J. Lee

Known For

Directing TV ShowsMovies

2016 Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall … Director
2015 Chi-Raq … Director
2014 Throw Like A Girl … Director
2014 Jerrod Carmichael: Love at the Store … Director
2014 Katt Williams: Priceless: Afterlife … Director
2014 Da Sweet Blood of Jesus … Director
2013 Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth … Director
2013 Oldboy … Director
2012 Bad 25 … Director
2012 Red Hook Summer … Director
2010 If God Is Willing and da Creek Don't Rise … Director
2009 Passing Strange … Director
2009 Kobe Doin' Work … Director
2009 Passing Strange … Director
2008 Miracle at St. Anna … Director
2006 Shark(1 episode) … Director
2006 When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts … Director
2006 Inside Man … Director
2005 All the Invisible Children … Director
2005 Miracle's Boys(4 episodes) … Director
2004 Sucker Free City … Director
2004 She Hate Me … Director
2002 25th Hour … Director
2002 Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet … Director
2002 Jim Brown: All-American … Director
2001 A Huey P. Newton Story … Director
2000 Bamboozled … Director
2000 The Original Kings of Comedy … Director
1999 Summer of Sam … Director
1998 John Leguizamo: Freak … Director
1998 He Got Game … Director
1997 4 Little Girls … Director
1997 HIStory on Film, Volume II … Director
1996 Get On the Bus … Director
1996 Girl 6 … Director
1995 Clockers … Director
1995 Lumière and Company … Director
1994 Crooklyn … Director
1992 Malcolm X … Director
1991 Jungle Fever … Director
1990 Mo' Better Blues … Director
1989 Do the Right Thing … Director
1989 Public Enemy: Fight the Power … Director
1988 School Daze … Director
1986 She's Gotta Have It … Director
1983 Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads … Director

Acting

2015 French Cinema Mon Amour
2015 Champs as Himself
2012 Bad 25 as Himself
2012 Red Hook Summer as Mr. Mookie
2012 Brooklyn Boheme as Himself
2011 Guest as Himself
2010 Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks as Himself
2010 Who Do You Think You Are?(1 episode)
2005 By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm X as Himself
2005 Street Fight as Himself
2003 Real Time with Bill Maher(1 episode)
2002 Johnny Vaughan Tonight(1 episode)
2001 3 A.M. as Filmmaker
2000 Michael Jordan to the Max as Himself
1999 The Early Show(1 episode)
1999 Summer of Sam as John Jeffries
1997 The View(2 episodes)
1997 4 Little Girls as Interviewer (voice) (uncredited)
1996 When We Were Kings as Himself
1996 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah(1 episode)
1996 Girl 6 as Jimmy
1995 Clockers as Chucky
1994 Inside the Actors Studio(1 episode)
1994 Crooklyn as Snuffy
1993 The Last Party as Himself
1992 Malcolm X as Shorty
1992 Ghostwriter(89 episodes) as Special Agent Pete
1991 Jungle Fever as Cyrus
1990 Lonely in America as Himself
1990 Mo' Better Blues as Giant
1990 In Living Color(1 episode)
1989 Do the Right Thing as Mookie
1988 School Daze as Darrell "Half-Pint" Dunlap
1986 She's Gotta Have It as Mars Blackmon
1975 Saturday Night Live(2 episodes)

Production

2015 The Girl is in Trouble … Executive Producer
2014 Da Sweet Blood of Jesus … Producer
2014 Manos sucias … Executive Producer
2013 Oldboy … Producer
2012 You're Nobody 'til Somebody Kills You … Executive Producer
2009 Kobe Doin' Work … Producer
2008 Miracle at St. Anna … Producer
2002 25th Hour … Producer
2002 Jim Brown: All-American … Producer
2001 3 A.M. … Co-Executive Producer
2001 3 A.M. … Producer
2000 Love & Basketball … Producer
1999 Summer of Sam … Producer
1998 He Got Game … Producer
1997 4 Little Girls … Producer
1995 Tales from the Hood … Executive Producer
1994 Drop Squad … Executive Producer
1992 Malcolm X … Producer
1991 Jungle Fever … Producer
1989 Do the Right Thing … Producer
1988 School Daze … Producer
1900 Alphaville(0 episodes) … Producer
1900 When the Levees Broke(0 episodes) … Producer

Writing

2015 Chi-Raq … Writer
2014 Da Sweet Blood of Jesus … Screenplay
2012 Red Hook Summer … Screenplay
1999 Summer of Sam … Screenplay
1998 He Got Game … Screenplay
1995 Clockers … Screenplay
1992 Malcolm X … Screenplay
1991 Jungle Fever … Screenplay
1990 Mo' Better Blues … Writer
1989 Do the Right Thing … Screenplay
1988 School Daze … Writer
1986 She's Gotta Have It … Writer

Camera

2008 Genesis: Come Rain or Shine … Camera Operator

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