Image of Spike Lee

Spike Lee

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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Mar 20, 1957 In Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the series Saturday Night Live 1975-10-11
Latest Project:
Movie Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists 2018-11-15
Known For
Poster of Guest
Poster of Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks
Poster of Street Fight
Poster of She's Gotta Have It
Movie Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists Himself 2018-11-15
Movie Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1 Himself 2018-04-22
Movie Champs Himself 2015-03-13
Movie French Cinema Mon Amour Himself 2015-07-06
Movie Life's Essentials with Ruby Dee Self 2014-06-22
Movie Brooklyn Boheme Himself 2012-02-27
Movie Red Hook Summer Mr. Mookie 2012-08-10
Movie Bad 25 Himself 2012-11-22
Movie On the Shoulders of Giants 2011-02-11
Movie Guest Himself 2011-03-25
Movie A Man's Story Himself 2011-10-08
Series Who Do You Think You Are? Unknown 2010-03-05
Movie Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks Himself 2010-03-14
Movie Kobe Doin' Work himself 2009-05-16
Movie Beyond Wiseguys: Italian Americans & the Movies 2008-01-20
Movie Lights, Action, Music 2007-08-06
Movie How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It) 2005-01-01
Movie By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm X Himself 2005-02-08
Movie Street Fight Self 2005-01-01
Movie Best Sellers: Peter Sellers and Dr. Strangelove Interviewee 2004-10-28
Movie Life O The Party: On the Road with Prince and the New Power Generation Himself 2004-12-31
Series Real Time with Bill Maher Unknown 2003-02-21
Series Johnny Vaughan Tonight Unknown 2002-01-07
Movie It's Black Entertainment Himself 2002-02-08
Movie 3 A.M. Filmmaker 2001-07-01
Movie Michael Jordan to the Max Himself 2000-05-05
Movie Lisa Picard Is Famous Spike Lee 2000-05-14
Movie Summer of Sam John Jeffries 1999-07-02
Series The Early Show Unknown 1999-11-01
Movie 4 Little Girls Interviewer (voice) (uncredited) 1997-07-09
Series The View Himself 1997-08-11
Series The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Unknown 1996-07-22
Movie Girl 6 Jimmy 1996-03-22
Movie The Fine Art of Separating People from Their Money Himself 1996-11-17
Movie When We Were Kings Himself 1996-10-25
Movie Clockers Chucky 1995-09-15
Movie A Century of Cinema 1994-01-01
Movie Crooklyn Snuffy 1994-05-13
Movie Hoop Dreams Himself 1994-09-12
Series Inside the Actors Studio Unknown 1994-06-01
Movie Farewell, Babylon! self 1993-08-28
Movie The Last Party Himself 1993-08-27
Movie Seven Songs for Malcolm X 1993-10-01
Series Ghostwriter Special Agent Pete 1992-10-03
Movie Malcolm X Shorty 1992-11-18
Movie Jungle Fever Cyrus 1991-06-07
Series In Living Color Unknown 1990-04-15
Movie Spike Lee & Company: Do It a Cappella Self 1990-01-01
Movie Mo' Better Blues Giant 1990-08-03
Movie Lonely in America Himself 1990-09-30
Movie Do the Right Thing Mookie 1989-06-14
Movie First Works 1989-10-10
Movie Decade Himself 1989-12-09
Movie Making 'Do the Right Thing' Himself 1989-11-03
Movie School Daze Darrell 'Half-Pint' Dunlap 1988-02-12
Movie She's Gotta Have It Mars Blackmon 1986-08-08
Series Saturday Night Live Unknown 1975-10-11