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Bill Duke

Bill Duke

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Also Known As: William Duke, William Henry Duke Jr. Died:
Born: February 26, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Poughkeepsie, New York, USA Profession: screenwriter, actor, director, producer, acting teacher, teacher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Black performer-director-writer whose work ranges from primetime TV and film to theater and literature. Duke began his film acting career in Michael Schultz's boisterous comedy "Car Wash" (1976), shortly after he started writing for the TV series "Good Times". A prolific TV director with scores of primetime episodes to his credit, including "Knots Landing", "Falcon Crest," "Hill Street Blues", "Spenser: For Hire," "A Man Called Hawk," "City of Angels," "New York Undercover" and the miniseries "Miracle's Boys," he won acclaim for his award-winning PBS film "The Killing Floor" (1984), about WWI stockyard workers, and "The Meeting" (1989), about a hypothetical encounter between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Black performer-director-writer whose work ranges from primetime TV and film to theater and literature. Duke began his film acting career in Michael Schultz's boisterous comedy "Car Wash" (1976), shortly after he started writing for the TV series "Good Times". A prolific TV director with scores of primetime episodes to his credit, including "Knots Landing", "Falcon Crest," "Hill Street Blues", "Spenser: For Hire," "A Man Called Hawk," "City of Angels," "New York Undercover" and the miniseries "Miracle's Boys," he won acclaim for his award-winning PBS film "The Killing Floor" (1984), about WWI stockyard workers, and "The Meeting" (1989), about a hypothetical encounter between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Dark Girls (2013)
3.
  Cover (2008)
4.
  Deacons For Defense (2003) Director
5.
  Hoodlum (1997) Director
6.
  America's Dream (1996) Director ("The Boy Who Painted Christ Black")
7.
  Cemetery Club, The (1993) Director
9.
  Deep Cover (1992) Director
10.
  Rage in Harlem, A (1991) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Fuller Life, A (2014)
2.
 Battledogs (2013)
3.
 Henry's Crime (2011)
4.
 Big Bang, The (2011)
5.
 Yellow (2007)
6.
 Go-Getter, The (2007)
7.
8.
 Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2005) Cast
9.
 National Security (2003) Lieutenant Washington
10.
 Red Dragon (2002) Police Chief
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1969:
Began acting career on New York stage in Le Roi Jones's "Slave Ship" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
1970:
Off-Broadway acting debut in Douglas Turner Ward's "Day of Absence" with the Negro Ensemble Company
1971:
Broadway acting debut in Melvin Van Pebbles' "Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death"
1972:
TV movie acting debut, "Santiago's Ark" for ABC Afterschool Specials
1972:
Off-Broadway directing debut, "The Secret Place" by Garrett Morris
1974:
Began writing for TV series, "Good Times" (1973-79)
1976:
Feature film acting debut, "Car Wash"
:
Directed over 30 off-Broadway plays including "Unfinished Women..." (1977) and "No Place to Be Somebody" (1987)
1979:
Directed first short, "The Hero"
1979:
Directed for TV series, "Knots Landing"
1980:
Cast in Alex Haley's TV series, "Palmerstown, U.S.A" for two seasons as a fictional representative of Haley's father
1984:
Directed "The Killing Floor"; filmed as the pilot for a 10-part PBS series; received first theatrical release March 1992
1991:
Directed first feature, "A Rage in Harlem"
1993:
Helmed "The Cemetery Club"
1997:
Directed (executive produced) the under-appreciated gangster flick "Hoodlum"
1998:
Helmed a two-part story arc of the UPN drama "Legacy"
1999:
Played a corrupt Chicago detective in "Payback"
2000:
Directed the A&E TV-movie "Golden Spiders"
2000:
Helmed episodes of the CBS medical drama "City of Angels"
2001:
Co-starred in "Exit Wounds"
2003:
Cast as Amos Andrews in the NBC series "Karen Sisco" based on the feature "Out of Sight"
2005:
Cast in Jim Sheridan's urban drama "Get Rich or Die Tryin'"; loosely based on the life of rapper 50 cent
2008:
Directed the thriller "Cover"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

AFI Conservatory: Los Angeles , California -
New York University: New York , New York -
Boston University: Boston , Massachusetts - 1966
Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 1978 - 1980

Notes

"If anybody has the potential to have a big-time crossover audience, it's the black artist. He has insight into the black community, but also into America. Because we've had to face so much racism and prejudice, we've always had to have a greater understanding of America than America had of us--just to survive."--Bill Duke ("US" magazine, October 1991)

Duke has directed over 70 episodes of prime-time TV.

"A lot of the younger black directors are auteurists whose work is built around personal experiences. We needed someone who was older and secure enough to collaborate and make a picture that we could distribute widely, but who still had a passion for the material. Bill's "Hill Street Blues" experience was very important to us because of the way that series mixed humor and violence."--Stephen Woolley, producer of "A Rage in Harlem" ("Premiere" Magazine, April, 1991)

"I'm always going to be 'a good "black" actor'. At most, I'll be 'the best of the black actors'. I'm big, my lips are big, my nose is big, my eyes are big. That means I'm a villain. A person who's my skin color and 6 feet 3 1/2 inches tall can't love children. After "American Gigolo" I went into the office of a producer to audition, and he was very uptight. He finally said: 'I'm afraid of you. You were such a bad guy.' It was maddening. I was "acting" in "American Gigolo." I'm an actor! A white actor would never have been so attached to the role in the producer's mind."--Bill Duke discussing typecasting as an actor ("New York Times", April 10, 1980)

Family close complete family listing

father:
Bill Duke.
mother:
Ethel Duke.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Bill Duke's 24-Hours L.A."
"Heroes: A Black Family Picture Album" Thunder's Mouth Press
"Black Light: The African American Hero"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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