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John Singleton

John Singleton

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Boyz N The Hood DVD The story about three friends growing up in a south central los angeles... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

The Fast And The Furious 2-Movie... Prepare for an injection of added horsepower in this 2-disc set pairing the... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

Baby Boy DVD From acclaimed director John Singleton comes the gangland drama, "Baby Boy"... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

Higher Learning DVD A complicated college year. Acclaimed African-American director John Singleton... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

Poetic Justice DVD "Poetic Justice" (1993) is a powerful tale of grief and rebirth. Janet Jackson... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

Rosewood DVD Director John Singleton delivers a powerful, explosive film based on the true... more info $12.98was $12.98 Buy Now



Also Known As: John Daniel Singleton Died:
Born: January 6, 1968 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After making a huge splash with his debut feature, "Boyz N the Hood" (1991), writer-director John Singleton was hailed as being a bright new talent and perhaps even the next Martin Scorsese, but he offered underwhelming follow-ups while becoming a hired studio gun later in his career. But "Boyz" undoubtedly put Singleton on the map when he became both the youngest person and first African-American to be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards. Full of promise and endless possibilities for his next feature, Singleton disappointed some with "Poetic Justice" (1993) and "Higher Learning" (1995), two well-acted films that paled in comparison to his auspicious debut. Hired for the first time for a studio film, he directed the racially charged "Rosewood" (1997), which earned solid reviews, but was largely ignored by audiences. Singleton drew a fine performance out of Samuel L. Jackson for the remake of "Shaft" (2000), before returning to South Central for the "Boyz" companion piece, "Baby Boy" (2001). He continued his up and down movement with the financially successful, but critically panned sequel "2 Fast 2 Furious" (2003), which left some wondering what happened to the promise he had displayed...

After making a huge splash with his debut feature, "Boyz N the Hood" (1991), writer-director John Singleton was hailed as being a bright new talent and perhaps even the next Martin Scorsese, but he offered underwhelming follow-ups while becoming a hired studio gun later in his career. But "Boyz" undoubtedly put Singleton on the map when he became both the youngest person and first African-American to be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards. Full of promise and endless possibilities for his next feature, Singleton disappointed some with "Poetic Justice" (1993) and "Higher Learning" (1995), two well-acted films that paled in comparison to his auspicious debut. Hired for the first time for a studio film, he directed the racially charged "Rosewood" (1997), which earned solid reviews, but was largely ignored by audiences. Singleton drew a fine performance out of Samuel L. Jackson for the remake of "Shaft" (2000), before returning to South Central for the "Boyz" companion piece, "Baby Boy" (2001). He continued his up and down movement with the financially successful, but critically panned sequel "2 Fast 2 Furious" (2003), which left some wondering what happened to the promise he had displayed in the previous decade. Though he produced several acclaimed projects like "Hustle & Flow" (2005), Singleton seemed content with leaving behind any artistic merits to focus more on genre filmmaking later in his career.

Born on Jan. 6, 1968 in Los Angeles, Singleton was raised by his father, Danny, a real estate agent and financial planner, and his mother, Shella, a pharmaceutical sales representative; his parents never wed and later shared custody after he was born. Singleton discovered screenwriting while in high school and later attended the University of Southern California, where he studied film on a Black Alumni Association scholarship. He also won the Robert Riskin Writing Award and twice earned the Jack Nicholson Writing Award. Soon after graduating USC in 1990, Singleton made an assured debut as a writer and director with "Boyz N the Hood" (1991), a richly compelling coming-of-age tale about a young South Central youth (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) who struggles to stay on the right path while living with his strict father (Lawrence Fishburne). Having received major studio backing and a showcase at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, the film found a spark of hope amid its bleak, violence-ridden South Central Los Angeles setting to become one of the top-grossing features ever made by a black filmmaker. Almost unanimously praised by the critics, "Boyz" earned Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, the latter of which made history as Singleton became both the first black and also the youngest filmmaker nominated in the category.

As a follow-up, Singleton helmed the 1992 Michael Jackson video "Remember the Time," featuring Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Iman and Magic Johnson in an Egyptian setting. Meanwhile, he set to work on his second feature, "Poetic Justice" (1993), a modern romance set in turbulent South Central L.A. that paired singers-turned-actors Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. While the film received a warm reception at the box office, critics were less than enthusiastic, though many cited the film's softer touch and fine performances from the two leads. Singleton moved on to "Higher Learning" (1995), which followed three college freshman (Kristy Swanson, Omar Epps and Michael Rapaport), who find themselves confronting racism, sexism and intolerance atop of normal adolescent problems. The film received moderate praise, though Singleton again failed to overwhelm critics and audiences who were primed for great things following "Boyz N the Hood." For the first time in his career, Singleton was a director-for-hire on his next project, "Rosewood" (1997), starring Ving Rhames, Jon Voight and Don Cheadle. The true story of a nearly all-black town on the Florida panhandle that was destroyed by white rednecks in 1923, "Rosewood" was virtually overlooked by audiences at the box office, even though the film earned Singleton his best reviews since his inaugural film.

Singleton became more comfortable as a studio director with his loose remake of the famed 1970s blaxploitation flick, "Shaft" (2000), which starred Samuel L. Jackson as the hard-edged nephew of the original detective (Richard Roundtree), who investigates a racially-motivated murder committed by the son (Christian Bale) of a wealthy construction tycoon, which leads Shaft to track down the only key witness who can finger the killer. Despite the ink spilled over Jackson's on-set confrontations with producer Scott Rudin and screenwriter Richard Price, "Shaft" was a mild critical and commercial success for Singleton, who was by this point disappearing more and more into the background. He followed up with the far more personal "Baby Boy" (2001), a sort of companion piece to "Boyz N the Hood," which focused on an immature 20-year-old African-American kid (Tyrese Gibson), who has fathered two children with two different women (Taraji P. Henson and Tamara LeSeon Bass) and finally meets his match when his mother's reformed gangster boyfriend (Ving Rhames) moves in. Taking Tyrese Gibson with him, Singleton jumped aboard to helm "2 Fast, 2 Furious" (2003), the high-octane, but critically-panned sequel to the sleeper thriller "The Fast and the Furious" (2001). Despite a been-there-done-that vibe, a plot plucked from some 1980s television show and a void left behind from the first film's star, Vin Diesel, "2 Fast" had enough thrills and excitement to earn $127 million in domestic box office, making it the biggest commercial hit to that point of Singleton's career.

After producing the acclaimed "Hustle & Flow" (2005), starring Terrance Howard as a middle-aged pimp hoping to reinvent himself as a rap star, Singleton helmed "Four Brothers" (2005), a remake of John Wayne's "The Sons of Katie Elder" (1965) set in the streets of modern-day Detroit. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Andre 3000, Tyrese Gibson and Garrett Hedlund as four adoptive brothers - two black, two white - whose mother is gunned down in a grocery story robbery, "Four Brothers" was a straight-forward and unabashed revenge thriller that disappointed critics for its simplistic narrative and glorification of vigilantism. Despite less-than-stellar reviews, "Four Brothers" faired well at the box office, earning close to $75 million during its theatrical release. In 2007, Singleton was involved in a fatal car accident in Los Angeles that claimed the life of 57 year-old Constance Russell, who stepped in front of the director's car while not using a crosswalk. Singleton was released after questioning when police determined no drugs or alcohol was involved. Though turned over to the district attorney's office, no charges were filed. Meanwhile, he helmed the action thriller, "Abduction" (2011), which starred Taylor Lautner as a teenager who learns he was kidnapped as a child and gets caught in a vast conspiracy that forces him to go on the run in order to survive.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Tupac (2013)
2.
  Abduction (2011)
3.
  Four Brothers (2005) Director
4.
  2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) Director
5.
  Baby Boy (2001) Director
6.
  Shaft (2000) Director
7.
  Rosewood (1997) Director
8.
  Higher Learning (1995) Director
9.
  Poetic Justice (1993) Director
10.
  Boyz N The Hood (1991) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Baadasssss! (2003) Detroit J
2.
 Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) Fireman
4.
 Who Is Alan Smithee? (2002) Interviewee
6.
8.
 Stan Lee: The ComiX-MAN! (1995) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in South Central Los Angeles
:
Signed with Creative Artists Agency while still studying at USC
1991:
Wrote and directed (also has bit part as a mailman) first feature "Boyz N the Hood"
1991:
Became the first black director and the youngest filmmaker to receive Academy Award nomination for Best Direction
1992:
Directed the Michael Jackson music video "Remember the Time"
1993:
Helmed second feature "Poetic Justice," starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur
1994:
Made a cameo as a firefighter in "Beverly Hills Cop III"
1995:
Signed two-year, first-look deal with Universal; disolved partnership after eight months in July 1996
1995:
Produced, wrote and directed the race-relations drama "Higher Learning"
1997:
Directed "Rosewood"
1997:
Signed exclusive eighteen month development deal with Warner Bros. TV; co-created and directed pilot for proposed series "Crash"
2000:
Directed loose remake of "Shaft" with Samuel L Jackson in the title role
2001:
Helmed "Baby Boy,"a coming-of-age story of a 20-year-old street hustler with two children by two different women
2003:
Directed the sequel "2 Fast and 2 Furious"
2005:
Produced the indie film "Hustle & Flow," which centers on a pimp-hustler with a mid-life crisis who wants to rap
2005:
Directed Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese, Garrett Hedlund and André 3000 as brothers out to avenge their mother's murder in the drama "Four Brothers"
2006:
Produced the drama feature "Black Snake Moan," starring Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci
2011:
Directed first feature film in six years, the action drama "Abduction"; starred Taylor Lautner
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

School of Cinema-Television, University of Southern California: Los Angeles , California - 1986 - 1990

Notes

Singleton was inspired to make films by the motion picture, "Star Wars" (1977). "When I was in high school, somebody told me that the film business was controlled by literary properties, i.e., screenplays. After I heard that I knew that I had to learn how to write, so I did." --John Singleton quoted in the press kit for "Boyz N The Hood" (1991).

"Real acceptance comes when you make a good film and its gets widely accepted as a good film. It's not about the novelty. Of course, there's a lot of new black filmmakers now, but I ain't no fucking novelty. I'm in it for the long haul." --John Singleton to Rolling Stone, September 5, 1991.

"In the late Sixties and early Seventies, everybody was asking questions of themselves and the society around them. So we had films that were serious and tackled issues, and it was profitable to do that because that was in vogue. Then in the Eighties we were told, 'Don't worry, be happy' by our government, and cinema reflected that. Now, they're still trying to tell us that, but we know we've got a lot of problems. Thought went out of vogue in the Eighties, but I think it's coming back." --Singleton in Rolling Stone, September 5, 1991.

He received the USC Black Alumni Association's Eme Award (1992)

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Tosha Lewis. Born c. 1970; mother of Justice Maya Singleton; he allegedly struck her in dispute over visitation rights; case went to court and Singleton was ordered to make a short film on domestic violence as well as receiving a sentence of three years probation, a fine of $300 and an order to undergo counseling; in September 1999 she filed a lawsuit seeking damages for injuries stemming from a 1992 incident.
companion:
Tyra Banks. Model. No longer together.
wife:
Akosua Busia. Actor, author, screenwriter. Ghanian; born c. 1966; married on October 12, 1996; filed for divorce on April 15, 1997; divorced on June 15, 1997.
companion:
Julie Brown. Producer. Dating in 1997; she claims they had a three-year relationship lasting until sometime in 2000.
companion:
Carmen McLaughlin. Dated in 2000.
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Family close complete family listing

father:
Danny Singleton. Real estate agent, financial planner.
mother:
Shella Ward-Johnson. Sales rep for pharmaceutical company. Never wed Singleton's father; shared custody.
daughter:
Justice Maya Singleton. Born on October 17, 1992; mother, Tosha Lewis.
daughter:
Hadar Singleton. Born on April 3, 1997; mother, Akosua Busia.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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