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Mario Van Peebles

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Also Known As: Mario Peebles Died:
Born: January 15, 1957 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Mexico Profession: actor, director, screenwriter, producer, model, singer, budget analyst

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Though he was the son of legendary blaxploitation filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, actor and director Mario Van Peebles made his own name both in front of and behind the camera in numerous film and television projects. After a few years of finding his footing as an actor, Van Peebles broke through with a memorable turn in "Heartbreak Ridge" (1986), which opened the doors to bigger and better things, including directing. He made his debut in the director's chair with episodes of "21 Jump Street" (Fox. 1987-1991) and "Wiseguy" (CBS, 1987-1990), though it was his hit feature debut, "New Jack City" (1991) that propelled him to the next level. But Van Peebles stumbled with both "Posse" (1993) and "Panther" (1995), while flailing a bit onscreen in rather unworthy B-thrillers and television movies. Following a small, but solid performance as Malcolm X in "Ali" (2001), Van Peebles triumphantly returned to feature filmmaking with "Baadasssss!", an intensely entertaining depiction of his father's struggles to film his seminal movie "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" (1971). While his career endured several ups and downs, there was no doubt that Van Peebles always remained a potent force both onscreen and off. ...

Though he was the son of legendary blaxploitation filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, actor and director Mario Van Peebles made his own name both in front of and behind the camera in numerous film and television projects. After a few years of finding his footing as an actor, Van Peebles broke through with a memorable turn in "Heartbreak Ridge" (1986), which opened the doors to bigger and better things, including directing. He made his debut in the director's chair with episodes of "21 Jump Street" (Fox. 1987-1991) and "Wiseguy" (CBS, 1987-1990), though it was his hit feature debut, "New Jack City" (1991) that propelled him to the next level. But Van Peebles stumbled with both "Posse" (1993) and "Panther" (1995), while flailing a bit onscreen in rather unworthy B-thrillers and television movies. Following a small, but solid performance as Malcolm X in "Ali" (2001), Van Peebles triumphantly returned to feature filmmaking with "Baadasssss!", an intensely entertaining depiction of his father's struggles to film his seminal movie "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" (1971). While his career endured several ups and downs, there was no doubt that Van Peebles always remained a potent force both onscreen and off.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
3.
  Hard Luck (2006)
4.
  Baadasssss! (2003) Director
5.
  Love Kills (1998) Director
6.
  Gang in Blue (1996) Director
7.
  Panther (1995) Director
8.
  Posse (1993) Director
9.
  New Jack City (1991) Director
10.
  Malcolm Takes a Shot (1990) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 We the Party (2012)
2.
3.
 Tied to a Chair (2011)
5.
7.
 Sharpshooter (2007)
8.
 Hard Luck (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in Europe
1965:
Returned to USA at age eight (date approximate)
1971:
First film appearance (in bit part as the young Sweetback) in father's "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song"
1971:
TV acting debut, "The Cable Car Murder/Cross Current", an unsold pilot
:
Worked for a film investment firm setting up limited partnerships
:
Moved to the commodities exchange
:
Served as budget analyst under NYC Mayor Ed Koch for two years
1979:
Played a small part in "The Sophisticated Gents", a superior NBC miniseries scripted by his father (who also acted); shelved for two years before airing in 1981
:
Worked as a Ford model
1983:
Film acting and writing (provided additional dialogue) debut, "South Bronx Heroes" (released direct-to-video 1985)
1984:
Broadway acting debut in his father's comedy with music, "Waltz of the Stork"
1984:
First released feature as an adult, "Exterminator 2"
1984:
First appearance in a major film, a bit part in Francis Coppola's "The Cotton Club"
:
Directed music videos for Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Nightrain (also produced and had a cameo)
1985:
Wrote song, "Two of a Kind" and performed five songs in film "Rappin'" (also actor)
1985:
First TV guest shot, "The Cosby Show"
1986:
Breakthrough feature supporting role, Clint Eastwood's "Heartbreak Ridge"
1986:
Played a recurring role during the first season of "L.A. Law" (also performed songs)
1988:
Starred as title character in the NBC-TV detective comedy series, "Sonny Spoon", produced by Stephen J. Cannell
1989:
TV directing debut, helmed several episodes of the Cannell-produced quasi-teen cop show "21 Jump Street"
1989:
Directed an episode of Cannell's acclaimed crime drama "Wiseguy"
1989:
Feature producing (co-produced with father) and scripting debut, "Identity Crisis", a broad farce directed by his father (also starred); released in 1990
1990:
Directed "Malcolm Takes a Shot", a presentation of "CBS Schoolbreak Specials" about a high school athelete who develops epilepsy
1991:
Directed first feature, "New Jack City" (also co-star)
1991:
Starred in CBS TV-movie "Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story"
1993:
Directed less successful "Posse"
1995:
Collaborated with father Melvin Van Peebles on "Panther"
1996:
Directed by father in "Gang in Blue" (Showtime)
1997:
Wrote, produced and starred in "Los Locos", a TV-movie sequel to "Posse" aired on The Movie Channel
1998:
Produced, wrote, directed and co-starred in "Love Kills"
1999:
Signed development deal with CBS to star in a TV series
2000:
Joined cast of the Showtime series "Rude Awakening" for its final season
2001:
Portrayed Malcolm X in "Ali", Michael Mann biopic of the boxer Muhammed Ali
2003:
Played Mohammed and Sweetback in the holiday comedy "The Hebrew Hammer"
2004:
Wrote, produced, directed and starred in "Baadasssss!" a homage to his father Melvin's 1971 film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song; received Independent Spirit Award Nominations for Best Feature, Best Director and Best Screenplay
:
Will direct and co-star in the thriller "Yellow Wood" (lensed 2005)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Columbia University: New York , New York - 1980

Notes

"Directing is like being a father and acting is like being a child, so I like to do both." --Mario Van Peebles (quoted in "Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story" press material)

"We've been working together since Mario was 2 years old. I directed him in some short films when he was still in diapers." --Melvin Van Peebles (quoted in press material for "Sonny Spoons")

He also directed, produced, wrote and starred in the short, "Juliet".

Won the Bronze Halo Award for outstanding TV appearance in "Children of the Night"

Family close complete family listing

father:
Melvin Van Peebles. Director, actor, writer, composer, commodities trader. Of black and Indian extraction; born on August 21, 1932.
mother:
Maria Marx. Photographer. Caucasian; blue-eyed blonde of French extraction.
sister:
Megan Van Peebles. Played Van Peebles' sister in the 1983 feature "South Bronx Heroes" (released direct-to-video in 1985).

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