Spike Lee

American filmmaker (born 1957)

Spike Lee (born March 20, 1957) is an American movie director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. He also teaches movie at New York University and Columbia University. Lee has acted in many of his own movies.

Spike Lee at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival

Early life


Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee in 1957 in Atlanta, Georgia. His mother was a teacher, and his father was a jazz musician.[1] When Lee was very young, the family moved to live in Brooklyn, New York City. His mother gave him the nickname "Spike".



The first movie Lee directed was She's Gotta Have It. Lee directed the two music videos for Michael Jackson's single "They Don't Care About Us". In 2002 Lee won the Special Award at the BAFTAs.

Lee's movies Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, 4 Little Girls, and She's Gotta Have It were picked by the Library of Congress to be remembered forever in the National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[2][3][4]

Acting roles

Year Film Role
1986 She's Gotta Have It Mars Blackmon
1988 School Daze Half-Pint
1989 Do the Right Thing Mookie
1990 Mo' Better Blues Giant
Lonely in America Himself
1991 Jungle Fever Cyrus
1992 Malcolm X Shorty
1994 Crooklyn Snuffy
Drop Squad Himself
1995 Clockers Chucky
1996 Girl 6 Jimmy
1999 Summer of Sam John Jeffries
2000 Lisa Picard Is Famous Himself
2001 3 A.M. Filmmaker
2012 Red Hook Summer Mookie


  1. Spike Lee biography at filmreference.com
  2. "U.S. film registry adds 25 new titles". CNN. November 16, 1999. Retrieved 2022-11-16.
  3. Nuckols, Ben (2011-01-03). "Spike Lee's 'Malcolm X' among 25 film registry picks". The Philadelphia Sunday Sun. Associated Press. Retrieved 2022-11-16.
  4. "See the 25 Additions to the National Film Registry". Time. Retrieved 2022-11-16.

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