Shelton Jackson Lee (b. 20th March 1957)
Spike Lee is an American film director, producer and writer. His hometown is Brooklyn, New York. He started his own production company under the name '40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks'. Spike Lee is renowned for his controversial topics in films, some of which highlight race relations, poverty and political issues.
Spike Lee: Early life
Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His mother, Jacqueline Carroll, taught the arts and black literature while his father, William James Edward Lee III, was a jazz musician. He got his nickname 'Spike' from his mother and he attended John Dewey High School.
Lee then attended Morehouse College and made his first film 'Last Hustle In Brooklyn' before leaving with a BA in Mass Communication. During that time he also took film courses at Clark Atlanta University, and later did graduate work at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he landed himself a Master of Fine Arts in Film & Television.
Spike Lee: Career
Spike Lee completed his first thesis film 'Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads' in 1983 and showcased it at Lincoln Center's New Directors New Films Festival.
In 1985, Lee made his first feature film 'She's Gotta Have It'. The budget was $175,000 and was released in 1986; the film grossed $7,000,000 at the U.S Box Office and it was shot in only two weeks.
1989 saw the release of controversial film 'Do The Right Thing' which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. The following year, 'Mo' Better Blues' was released.
Lee released '4 Little Girls' in 1997; a documentary that explored the killings of the children from a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. The film was nominated for Best Feature Documentary at the Academy Awards.
Spike Lee: Commercials
In 1990, Levi's jeans took Lee on to produce the TV commercials for the 501 button fly selection.
Nike offered Lee a deal to direct for the company, and worked on the 'Air Jordans' line.
His success in commercials then spanned to the likes of Converse, Taco Bell, Ben & Jerry's and Jaguar.
Spike lee: Personal Life
Lee is married to Tonya Lewis who is an attorney. They have two children; their daughter Satchel (b. Dec.1994) and their son Jackson (b. 1997). Lee is an avid New York Yankees fan, as well as a New York Knicks and English Football Team, Arsenal.
Lee has his own office, and lives with his wife Tonya in Upper-East Manhattan, New York.