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Melvin Van Peebles
  • Biography

Melvin Van Peebles

Mr. Van Peebles has worked in every medium of the entertainment industry, from music (a three-time Grammy nominee) to television (an Emmy-award winner) to Broadway as a writer and director (11 Tony nominations), and after 30 years his blockbuster movie, SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAAADASSSSS SONG, remains on Variety's list of all-time top grossing films. The film was recently released on DVD.

Mr. Van Peebles' works are taught at such distinguished schools as Yale, Harvard and Columbia. Scott Gentry's book, The Film 100, recognized Mr. Van Peebles as one of the most influential people in the history of cinema for his commercialization of both independent and black films.

Mr. Van Peebles began his career as a 10-year old selling second-hand clothes to winos. Since then, he has been involved with, among other things, the Boy Scouts, Astronomy, Youth for Christ, the Strategic Air Command, the Merchant Marine, the Artillery, the Post Office, Cable Cars, Het Nederlands Comedie, the ACLU, the Cinematique Francaise, the Harkness Ballet, Boston Marathons, Pinochle, the Block, Blues, Dues, the Senegalese Police and the Mexican immigration authorities. Recently, Mr. Van Peebles was awarded the prestigious French Legion of Honor.

His book, The Making of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, upon which the movie is based and which serves as an excerpt from one of the volumes of his upcoming autobiography, is in its fourth U.S. printing. It has also been published in the U.K. and translated into Japanese. Additionally, Mr. Van Peebles finished personally translating the book into French, which will be available in December 2003.

He is currently writing a novel that is a cautionary tale from mankind's future entitled Ratcatchers 2147, in addition to opening Soul Cabaret in December 2003, a French musical review at the Peter Brook's Theater in Paris.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Melvin Van Peebles Facts

Birth NameMelvin Peebles
OccupationDirector, Actor, Musician
BirthdayAugust 21, 1932 (89)
BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, USA

Selected Filmography

Not available.