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*Bill Duke was born on this date in 1943. He is a Black actor and film director.
Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, Duke received his first instruction in the performing arts at Boston University where he majored in speech and drama. After also studying at New York University's Tisch School of Arts and the AFI Conservatory, Duke began his career behind the camera, directing episodes of several noteworthy 1980s television series, including Hill Street Blues and Miami Vice.
Duke became a familiar face on screen in Commando and Predator, Action Jackson, Payback and X-Men: The Last Stand. Other Duke films include Car Wash (1976) and American Gigolo (1980). Returning to the director's chair, Duke began directing feature-length films in the 1990s with A Rage in Harlem and Deep Cover. He also directed The Cemetery Club and Sister Act 2. Duke continues to act and direct for both the small and silver screens. Duke directed a segment of HBO's trilogy "America's Dream," entitled "The Boy Who Painted Christ Black," for which he won Cable ACE and NAACP Image Awards for Best Director, and the pilot for the series "New York Undercover."
As a writer, Duke and Danny Glover created a book of photo essays, Black Light: The African American Hero. He also directed "A Town Hall Meeting: Creating A Sense of Community" for the Los Angeles-based Artists Against Homelessness. Duke is also a mentor for young African Americans aspiring for the performance arts.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
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