Spike Lee Biography

Spike Lee photo

Born: March 20, 1957


Date of Birth: March 20, 1957

Born in Atlanta, this talented yet controversial filmmaker was raised in Brooklyn, New York. He returned to his birthplace to study communications at Atlanta's Morehouse College where he first developed an interest in cinema. After graduation, he enrolled in New York University's film school, where his masters thesis film, Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads won the Student Award of the Motion Picture Academy.

Lee's films are characterized by their exploration of the nature of racism and the social struggles of African Americans. Unable to obtain funding for his early movies, he is critical of Hollywood's attitude towards black filmmakers—creating a cycle of lost opportunity for the major studios and Oscar shut-outs for Lee, though he did receive nominations for Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X and 4 Little Girls. In 2016, he received an Honorary Award from the Academy Awards.

His most recent film, BlacKkKlansman (2018), has gotten some of the best reviews of the director's career. The dark comedy won the Grand Prize of the Jury at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It also earned him Best Director nominations at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. Although he didn't win for Best Director, Spike did take home his first Academy Award in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

That Lee is one of the most influential filmmakers of his time is not only a credit to craft, but to his determination as well. "There are some people who think my number one interest in doing films," says Lee, "is dealing with race issues in this country. That's very important to me, but I don't think I make any one type of film."

Spike has a daughter and a son with his wife, producer Tonya Lewis Lee.

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