He is a multi-talented superstar, a great performer, multiple award winner, and a prominent figure in the American entertainment industry. He is none other than Spike Lee, the son of the famous jazz musician William James Edward Lee III. Spike Lee is famous for his blockbuster movies like Malcolm X, Inside Man, The Original Kings of Comedy, Do the Right Thing, and others. Read below to learn more interesting facts about the black American movie star.
Who is Spike Lee? – Bio & Age
Spike Lee is a well-known American actor, author, film producer, and director. He has done outstanding work both in front of and behind the camera and has recorded several awards on his behalf. His awards include two Emmy Awards, two Academy Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a Grand Prix Award. Others include the BAFTA Award, the Gish Prize, and the Honorary Cesar.
He was born on March 20, 1957, as Shelton Jackson Lee in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the eldest of four children of Jacqueline Carroll, who worked as a teacher of black literature in the arts, and Williams James Edward Lee III, who is a jazz musician. As a child, Lee developed a keen interest in acting and theater production. During his high school years, he performed in several theater performances.
He grew up in Brooklyn, where he attended John Dewey High School in Brooklyn’s Gravesend neighborhood. Soon after graduating, he enrolled at Morehouse College, an all-male liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia. It was there that he shot his first student film, entitled Last Hustle in Brooklyn, and also graduated with a degree in Mass Communication. He also attended the Tisch School of Arts at New York University, where he earned a master’s degree in film and television. He also attended film courses at Clark Atlanta University.
Spike Lee Professional Career
Spike Lee first began as a professor at Harvard University, taught filmmaking in 1991, and in 1993 began teaching a graduate film program at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts. In 2002 he was appointed Artistic Director of the school.
He released his first film, She’s Gotta Have It, in 1986, and the film became a box-office hit, earning over seven million dollars in the United States alone. His next project “Do the Right Thing” was released in 1989. After its outstanding screening, the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay that same year. The following year he released a music drama entitled Mo’ Better Blues, in which he himself starred alongside Denzel Washington and Wesley Snipes.
In 1991 Lee released a romantic drama called Jungle Fever, starring Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson, and Anthony Quinn. This was followed in 1992 by the biographical drama film Malcolm X, which he released in 1992. His other films include Crooklyn (1994), Clockers (1995), Girl 6 (1996), The Originals Kings of Comedy (2000), 25th Hour (2002), She Hate Me (2004), Inside Man (2006), Red Hook Summer (2012), Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014), Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall (2012) and the 2018 film BlacKkKlansman.
In addition to films, Spike Lee has also directed several television commercials for well-known companies, including Air Jordan, Nike, Jaguar, Ben & Jerry’s, Taco Bell, and Converse, to name a few. He is also associated with famous directors like Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg.
Lee came from a family with an entertainment background. Just like Lee, his three younger siblings followed the same career path and made a name for themselves in the American entertainment industry. Joie Susannah Lee is an actress, producer, and screenwriter. She has starred in several films directed by Spike Lee, including School Daze, She’s Gotta Have It, while David Lee is still a photographer with American Unit; and Cinque Lee is an actor and filmmaker. The three siblings have worked with Lee on various projects and have held various positions in his institution.
Lee not only has a successful career but is also successful in his love life. He is happily married to Tonya Lewis Lee, an American lawyer, and gynecologist, and infant health advocate. Tonya is also a film producer, author, and entrepreneur. She founded her production company, Madstone Company Inc. in 1996. The couple met in 1992 and married the following year in New York City. Together they have two children – a daughter named Satchel Lee, born in 1994, and a son named Jackson Lee, born in 1997. Lee and Tonya have always kept their private lives away from the media, which has made their relationship more successful. The love between them has flourished for over two decades and there are no signs of divorce yet.
What is His Net Worth?
The multi-talented American film wonder child has been successful since the beginning of his career. He has amassed a lot of wealth through his acting, production, and writing career. Spike Lee has an astonishing net worth of $40 million. He is one of the richest and most established African American filmmakers. Lee is also successful in his real estate ventures, his residence in Manhattan’s Upper East Side is a 9000 square foot city with a value of over $19 million. Lee owns a 40 acre and a Mule film production company, which is currently worth $2 – $4 million. He also owns a two-acre property on Martha’s Vineyard in New York City. His other sources of wealth include television advertising and other business endeavors.