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Also Known As: Reginald Bythewood, Reggie Bythewood Died:
Born: July 7, 1965 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, actor, playwright, producer, ice cream parlor worker, construction worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An African-American writer for film and television who started out in the business as an actor, Reggie Rock Bythewood went from teen star on NBC's "Another World" (in a 1981-1983 role) to big screen success, penning the screenplay for the Spike Lee-directed Million Man March dramatization "Get on the Bus" (1996). Racking up other acting roles before he switched to behind-the-scenes pursuits, Bythewood was featured in John Sayles' "The Brother From Another Planet" and "Exterminator 2" in 1984, acted in the youth-themed action drama "The Beat" in 1987 and had a cameo in the black comedy "Vampire's Kiss" in 1988. Bythewood segued successfully to off-camera creative pursuits working as a writer and producer on "A Different World" from 1991 to 1993, where he met his future wife, fellow filmmaker Gina Prince. Set at Hillman College, a fictional, predominately African-American university, "A Different World" offered Bythewood the opportunity to effect the ways in which blacks were portrayed in series television, a topic he would later address in his first feature, the Sundance-screened "Dancing in September" (2001). The writer-producer moved on to the Fox police drama "New York Undercover" in 1994, and...

An African-American writer for film and television who started out in the business as an actor, Reggie Rock Bythewood went from teen star on NBC's "Another World" (in a 1981-1983 role) to big screen success, penning the screenplay for the Spike Lee-directed Million Man March dramatization "Get on the Bus" (1996). Racking up other acting roles before he switched to behind-the-scenes pursuits, Bythewood was featured in John Sayles' "The Brother From Another Planet" and "Exterminator 2" in 1984, acted in the youth-themed action drama "The Beat" in 1987 and had a cameo in the black comedy "Vampire's Kiss" in 1988.

Bythewood segued successfully to off-camera creative pursuits working as a writer and producer on "A Different World" from 1991 to 1993, where he met his future wife, fellow filmmaker Gina Prince. Set at Hillman College, a fictional, predominately African-American university, "A Different World" offered Bythewood the opportunity to effect the ways in which blacks were portrayed in series television, a topic he would later address in his first feature, the Sundance-screened "Dancing in September" (2001). The writer-producer moved on to the Fox police drama "New York Undercover" in 1994, and stayed with the hard-hitting crime series with an exceptionally racially-diverse cast until 1997, when network pressure forced writers to kill off lead character Eddie Torres (played by Michael DeLorenzo) in order to make room for additional white characters in major roles. Bythewood next created the short-lived NBC action series "Players" (1997-98), a more lighthearted look at crime fighting.

Seemingly silent after his acclaimed screenplay for "Get on the Bus", Bythewood received his next big screen credit for Hi-8 footage contributed to his wife's celebrated directorial debut "Love & Basketball" (2000). His own debut came with "Dancing in September", a TV industry-set romance that paired an African-American writer (Nicole Ari Parker) with a TV executive (Isaiah Washington) who hit the jackpot with a network-pleasing series that is a realistic take on the black American experience. Unfortunately the honeymoon is short-lived, as the show is faced with cancellation if changes aren't made to the lead characters, changes that would make them the one-dimensional, stereotypical representations all too common on screens big and small. Dealing with many of the same issues as Spike Lee's more sensationalistic "Bamboozled" (2000), Bythewood went for the heart rather than the jugular with "Dancing in September", and proved a director with a skilled hand. Well-paced with a nice flow, Bythewood made the most of limited resources with this independent feature. Screened at Sundance in January 2001, the film made its debut on HBO the following month. Bythewood's career was on the ascent, and he snared the director's chair on a big-budget Hollywood project on which he shared story credit: DreamWorks' "Biker Boys" (2003), a high-octane action drama that played like a post-modern Western on wheels, featuring a host of African American professionals by day who take to the streets as motorcycle-riding desperados by night.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Biker Boyz (2003) Director
2.
  Dancing in September (2000) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Vampire's Kiss (1988) Church Bystander
2.
 Beat, The (1987) Danny
3.
 Exterminator 2 (1984) Spider
5.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Wrote and directed two plays with The Tribe, "The Harlem Cowboy" and "The Arm Wrestle"
1981:
Appeared as a regular on "Another World" (NBC)
1984:
Featured in John Sayles' "The Brother From Another Planet"
1987:
Appeared in the action drama "The Beat"
1988:
Had a cameo role in the comedy "Vampire's Kiss"
1992:
Hired as writer and story editor for NBC's "A Different World"
1994:
Wrote and produced the FOX drama, "New York Undercover"
1996:
Feature screenwriting debut, Spike Lee's "Get on the Bus"
1997:
Created the short-lived NBC series, "Players"
2000:
Contributed Hi-8 footage to wife Gina Prince-Bythewood's acclaimed film, "Love & Basketball"
2001:
Wrote and directed the HBO movie, "Dancing in September"; also produced
2003:
Directed and co-wrote the motorcycle action flick "Biker Boyz"
2009:
Co-wrote the script for "Notorious," the biographical film about the life of hip hop star The Notorious B.I.G.
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

The School of Performing Arts: New York , New York -
Marymount Manhattan College: New York , New York - 1989

Notes

"I was surprised that he switched from being an actor to a writer. He is modest, but writing brings him out. Still, he never shows off; I think he only has one gold chain." --Daily News, September 22, 1996.

"My aim is to say to Hollywood, 'Let's set a trend of not being racists,' and maybe that will catch on." -- Bythewood quoted to Nasser Metcalfe in a feature interview for Blackfilm.com.

Bythewood on his directorial debut "Dancing in September", quoted in the WGA publication Written By, September 2000: "Certainly I want to challenge everyone's perspective with this film. Not only African-Americans but Latino-Americans, Asian-Americans, whites. And I don't want to only challenge Americans. The questions raised in the film are a hot topic in Paris and other places. At the end of the day, the film is a love story. I realize that distributors don't think our film can sell overseas. I don't know what motivates this constant lack of vision from studios. However, part of my job is to prove that theory totally wrong. That's a challenge I look forward to meeting."

Bythewood on "Dancing in September": "I believe this film is relevant; it shows African-Americans in a place where they're not whining. It's an honest portrayal of this Hollywood world. It asks Hollywood and viewers and society to look at themselves in the mirror. I hope it challenges Hollywood's thinking as far as giving fair representation to African-Americans.

If it doesn't do all that, I just hope it entertains." --to the Los Angeles Times, February 3, 2001.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Gina Prince-Bythewood. Director, screenwriter. Wed in the late 1990s.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Carole Bythewood. Nurse. Divorced from Bythewood's father c. 1979.
sister:
Regina Carole Ellison. Older.
son:
Cassius Mandela Bythewood. Born on March 1, 2001.

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