Personal Info - Awards - Film Credits - Biography
Born: 20 March 1957, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Birth Name: Shelton Jackson Lee
• Malcolm X (1992): $3,000,000
• 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks
• William Morris Agency
Academy Awards, USA
• Nominated, Oscar
Best Documentary, Features for 4 Little Girls (1997)
Shared With: Samuel D. Pollard
• Nominated, Oscar
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Do the Right Thing (1989)
Another 19 wins & 25 nominations
Edge of Outside (documentary) - Special Thanks 2006
Inside Man - Director 2006
All the Invisible Children - Director (segment "Jesus Children of America"), Producer (segment "Jesus Children of America") 2005
Jesus Children of America (short) - Director, Producer 2005
Dream Street - Executive Producer 2005
She Hate Me - Director, Producer, Writer (screenplay) 2004
C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America - Presenter 2004
The Living Silence (short) - Special Thanks 2003
Five Deep Breaths (short) - Special Thanks 2003
25th Hour - Director, Producer 2002
Ax 'Em (video) - Special Thanks 2002
Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet - Director (segment "We Wuz Robbed"), Producer (segment "We Wuz Robbed") 2002
Come Rain or Come Shine (documentary short) - Director, Cinematographer 2001
Home Invaders - Executive Producer 2001
Snapped (short) - Special Thanks (as Shelton J. Lee) 2001
3 A.M. - Co-executive Producer, Producer, Filmmaker 2001
Bamboozled - Director, Producer, Writer (written by) 2000
The Original Kings of Comedy (documentary) - Director, Producer 2000
And Ya Don't Stop: Hip Hop's Greatest Videos, Vol. 1 (video) - Director (video "Fight the Power") 2000
Love & Basketball - Producer 2000
The Best Man - Producer 1999
Chutney Popcorn - Special Thanks 1999
Dogma - Special Thanks 1999
Summer of Sam - Director, Producer, Writer, Reporter John Jeffries 1999
He Got Game - Director, Producer, Writer (written by) 1998
Nowhere Fast - Special Thanks (as Shelton Lee) 1997
Get on the Bus - Director, Executive Producer 1996
Girl 6 - Director, Producer, Jimmy 1996
Clockers - Director, Producer, Writer (screenplay), Chucky 1995
Tales from the Hood - Executive Producer 1995
New Jersey Drive - Executive Producer 1995
Crooklyn - Director, Producer, Writer, Snuffy 1994
Clerks - Special Thanks 1994
Malcolm X - Director, Producer, Writer (screenplay), Shorty 1992
Boyz n the Hood - Thanks 1991
Jungle Fever - Director, Producer, Writer, Cyrus 1991
Mo' Better Blues - Director, Producer, Writer, Giant 1990
Do the Right Thing - Director, Producer, Writer (written by), Mookie 1989
School Daze - Director, Producer, Writer, Half-Pint 1988
She's Gotta Have It - Director, Producer (as Shelton J. Lee), Writer, Mars Blackmon, Editor 1986
High Wire (documentary short) - Thanks 1984
Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads - Director, Producer, Assistant Camera, Writer, Editor 1983
Sarah - Director 1981
The Answer - Director 1980
Last Hustle in Brooklyn - Director
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, where he developed his film making skills. After graduating from Morehouse, to go to the Tisch School of arts graduate film program. He made a controversial short, Answer, The (1980), a reworking of D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, The (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. However success did not mean money, and 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. The film also saw one of Laurence Fishburne's first major roles. With School Daze in profit, 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 (Bed-Stuy, to be exact) 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, and exactly where Lee was taking the film.
Lee went on to produce the jazz biopic Mo' Better Blues (1990), which is often considered heavy handed, but still good, and did not seem to be as controversial as his previous efforts, but 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 although it did not quite arouse the debate that similar earlier films did, such as 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner'. 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. It was well received and well liked, if for nothing else than the fine quality of acting and directing the film showed its audience.
Bamboozled (2000), proved so over the top and too much for Hollywood. The movie made a near 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 Newton, Jim Brown, and has commented in many documentaries about varied subjects.
His personal life has become somewhat well known, too. He had a relationship with Halle Berry, and started a family with Tanya Lewis, with whom he has two children. Lee is also known to have an obsessive love of the New York Knicks.
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.