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.

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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.

Personal Info

Gender Male

Known Credits 82

Birthday 1957-03-20

Place of Birth Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • Shelton Lee
  • Shelton J. Lee

Directing TV ShowsMovies

2017 Rodney KingDirector
2016 Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the WallDirector
2015 Chi-RaqDirector
2014 Throw Like A GirlDirector
2014 Jerrod Carmichael: Love at the StoreDirector
2014 Katt Williams: Priceless: AfterlifeDirector
2014 Da Sweet Blood of JesusDirector
2013 Mike Tyson: Undisputed TruthDirector
2013 OldboyDirector
2012 Bad 25Director
2012 Red Hook SummerDirector
2010 If God Is Willing and da Creek Don't RiseDirector
2009 Passing StrangeDirector
2009 Kobe Doin' WorkDirector
2008 Miracle at St. AnnaDirector
2006 Shark(1 episode)Director
2006 When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts(4 episodes)Director
2006 When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four ActsDirector
2006 Inside ManDirector
2005 All the Invisible ChildrenDirector
2005 Miracle's Boys(4 episodes)Director
2004 Sucker Free CityDirector
2004 She Hate MeDirector
2002 25th HourDirector
2002 Ten Minutes Older: The TrumpetDirector
2002 Jim Brown: All-AmericanDirector
2001 A Huey P. Newton StoryDirector
2000 BamboozledDirector
2000 The Original Kings of ComedyDirector
1999 Summer of SamDirector
1998 John Leguizamo: FreakDirector
1998 He Got GameDirector
1997 4 Little GirlsDirector
1997 HIStory on Film, Volume IIDirector
1996 Get on the BusDirector
1996 Girl 6Director
1995 ClockersDirector
1995 Lumière and CompanyDirector
1994 CrooklynDirector
1992 Malcolm XDirector
1992 Prince and the N.P.G.: Diamonds and Pearls Video CollectionDirector
1991 Jungle FeverDirector
1990 Mo' Better BluesDirector
1989 Do the Right ThingDirector
1988 School DazeDirector
1986 She's Gotta Have ItDirector
1983 Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut HeadsDirector

Acting

2017 Birth of a Movement as Himself
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
2005 How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It)
2004 Life O The Party: On the Road with Prince and the New Power Generation as Himself
2003 Real Time with Bill Maher(1 episode)
2002 Johnny Vaughan Tonight(1 episode)
2001 3 A.M. as Filmmaker
2000 Lisa Picard Is Famous as Spike Lee
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 Making 'Do the Right Thing' as Himself
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

2017 Rodney KingProducer
2015 Chi-RaqProducer
2015 The Girl is in TroubleExecutive Producer
2014 Da Sweet Blood of JesusProducer
2014 Manos suciasExecutive Producer
2013 OldboyProducer
2012 You're Nobody 'til Somebody Kills YouExecutive Producer
2009 Kobe Doin' WorkProducer
2008 Miracle at St. AnnaProducer
2006 When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts(4 episodes)Producer
2002 25th HourProducer
2002 Jim Brown: All-AmericanProducer
2001 3 A.M.Co-Executive Producer
2001 3 A.M.Producer
2000 BamboozledProducer
2000 Love & BasketballProducer
1999 Summer of SamProducer
1998 He Got GameProducer
1997 4 Little GirlsProducer
1995 Tales from the HoodExecutive Producer
1994 Drop SquadExecutive Producer
1992 Malcolm XProducer
1991 Jungle FeverProducer
1989 Do the Right ThingProducer
1988 School DazeProducer
1986 She's Gotta Have ItProducer
1900 Alphaville(0 episodes)Producer

Writing

2015 Chi-RaqWriter
2014 Da Sweet Blood of JesusScreenplay
2012 Red Hook SummerScreenplay
2000 BamboozledScreenplay
1999 Summer of SamScreenplay
1998 He Got GameScreenplay
1995 ClockersScreenplay
1992 Malcolm XScreenplay
1991 Jungle FeverScreenplay
1990 Mo' Better BluesWriter
1989 Do the Right ThingScreenplay
1988 School DazeWriter
1986 She's Gotta Have ItWriter

Editing

1986 She's Gotta Have ItEditor

Camera

2008 Genesis: Come Rain or ShineCamera Operator

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