65 Facts About Spike Lee


Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee was born on March 20,1957 and is an American filmmaker and actor.


Spike Lee has won numerous accolades for his work, including an Academy Award, a Student Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, a BAFTA Award, and two Peabody Awards.


Spike Lee has been honored with an Honorary BAFTA Award in 2002, an Honorary Cesar in 2003, the Academy Honorary Award in 2019, and a Gala Tribute from the Film Society of Lincoln Center as well as the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.


Spike Lee made his directorial debut with She's Gotta Have It.


Spike Lee's films have featured breakthrough and acclaimed performances from actors such as Denzel Washington, Laurence Fishburne, Samuel L Jackson, Giancarlo Esposito, Rosie Perez, Delroy Lindo and John David Washington.


Spike Lee's films Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, 4 Little Girls and She's Gotta Have It were each selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


Shelton Jackson Spike Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Jacqueline Carroll, a teacher of arts and black literature, and William James Edward Spike Lee III, a jazz musician and composer.


Spike Lee has three younger siblings, Joie, David, and Cinque, each of whom has worked in many different positions in Spike Lee's films.


Spike Lee attended John Dewey High School in Brooklyn's Gravesend neighborhood.


Spike Lee enrolled in Morehouse College, a historically black college in Atlanta, where he made his first student film, Last Hustle in Brooklyn.


Spike Lee did graduate work at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in film and television.


In 1983, Spike Lee premiered his first independent short film titled, Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads.


Spike Lee submitted the film as his master's degree thesis at the Tisch School of the Arts.


In 1985, Spike Lee began work on his first feature film, She's Gotta Have It.


Spike Lee wrote, directed, produced, starred and edited the film with a budget of $175,000, he shot the film in two weeks.


In 1989, Spike Lee made perhaps his most seminal film, Do the Right Thing, which focused on a Brooklyn neighborhood's simmering racial tension on a hot summer day.


Spike Lee said in an April 7,2006, interview with New York magazine that the other film's success, which he thought was based on safe stereotypes, hurt him more than if his film had not been nominated for an award.


Spike Lee denied the charge, explaining that he wrote those characters in order to depict how black artists struggled against exploitation.


Spike Lee said that Lew Wasserman, Sidney Sheinberg, or Tom Pollock, the Jewish heads of MCA and Universal Studios, were unlikely to allow antisemitic content in a film they produced.


Spike Lee said he could not make an antisemitic film because Jews run Hollywood, and "that's a fact".


In 1992, Spike Lee released his biographical epic film Malcolm X based on the Autobiography of Malcolm X, starring Denzel Washington as the famed civil rights leader.


In 2002, Spike Lee directed 25th Hour starring Edward Norton, and Philip Seymour Hoffman which opened to positive reviews, with several critics since having named it one of the best films of its decade.


In 2006, Spike Lee directed Inside Man starring Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Willem Dafoe and Christopher Plummer.


The film was an unusual film for Spike Lee considering it was a studio heist thriller.


Thanks to some slick lens work and a cast on cracking form, Spike Lee proves that playing it straight is not always a bad thing.


In 2015, Spike Lee received an Academy Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his contributions to film.


Spike Lee directed, wrote, and produced the MyCareer story mode in the video game NBA 2K16.


Later that same year, after a perceived long dip in quality, Spike Lee rebounded with a musical drama film, Chi-Raq.


Spike Lee won his first competitive Academy Award in the category Best Adapted Screenplay.


In 1991, Spike Lee taught a course at Harvard about filmmaking.


Later, Spike Lee was asked to comment on the phenomenon of violence related to inner-city youths trying to steal Air Jordans from other kids.


Spike Lee said that, rather than blaming manufacturers of apparel that gained popularity, "deal with the conditions that make a kid put so much importance on a pair of sneakers, a jacket and gold".


Spike Lee's films have examined race relations, colorism in the black community, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues.


Spike Lee's films are noted for their unique stylistic elements, including the use of dolly shots to portray the characters "floating" through their surroundings, which he has had his cinematographers repeatedly use in his work.


In 2018, during an interview with GQ, Spike Lee cited some of his favorite films as Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront and A Face in the Crowd, as well as Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets.


Spike Lee says that he befriended Scorsese after attending a screening of After Hours at NYU.


In 1983, Spike Lee won the Student Academy Award for his film Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads.


Spike Lee won awards at the Black Reel Awards for Love and Basketball, the Black Movie Awards for Inside Man, and the Berlin International Film Festival for Get on the Bus.


Spike Lee was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay for Do the Right Thing and Best Documentary for 4 Little Girls, but did not win either award.


In 2015, at the age of 58, Spike Lee became the youngest person ever to receive an Honorary Academy Award.


Spike Lee received the award as "a champion of independent film and an inspiration to young filmmakers".


Spike Lee himself was nominated for 3 Oscars for Spike Lee for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.


Spike Lee went on to win the Best Adapted Screenplay, his first Academy Award.


Spike Lee's films Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, 4 Little Girls, and She's Gotta Have It were each selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


On May 18,2016, Spike Lee delivered the Commencement address for The Johns Hopkins University Class of 2016.


Spike Lee met his wife, attorney Tonya Lewis Spike Lee, in 1992, and they were married a year later in New York.


Spike Lee is a fan of the New York Knicks basketball team, the New York Yankees baseball team, the New York Rangers ice hockey team, and the English football club Arsenal.


Spike Lee claimed that because of his fame, viewers would think he was associated with the channel.


Spike Lee continues to maintain an office in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, but he and his wife live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.


In May 2020, Spike Lee published a three-minute short film, NEW YORK NEW YORK, on Instagram that was later featured on the city's official website.


Spike Lee celebrated Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election with champagne amid a crowd on the streets of Brooklyn.


In May 1999, the New York Post reported that Spike Lee made an inflammatory comment about Charlton Heston, president of the National Rifle Association, while speaking to reporters at the Cannes Film Festival.


Spike Lee was responding to coverage about whether Hollywood was responsible for school shootings.


At the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, Spike Lee, who was then making Miracle at St Anna, about an all-black US division fighting in Italy during World War II, criticized director Clint Eastwood for not depicting black Marines in his own World War II film, Flags of Our Fathers.


Spike Lee angrily said that Lee should "shut his face".


Spike Lee responded that Eastwood was acting like an "angry old man", and argued that despite making two Iwo Jima films back to back, Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers, "there was not one black soldier in both of those films".


Spike Lee added that he and Eastwood were "not on a plantation".


Spike Lee later claimed that the event was exaggerated by the media and that he and Eastwood had reconciled through mutual friend Steven Spielberg, culminating in his sending Eastwood a print of Miracle at St Anna.


In March 2012, after the killing of Trayvon Martin, Spike Lee was one of many people who used Twitter to circulate a message that claimed to give the home address of the shooter George Zimmerman.


Spike Lee issued an apology and reached an agreement with the McClains, which reportedly included "compensation", with their attorney stating "The McClains' claim is fully resolved".


Nevertheless, in November 2013, the McClains filed a negligence lawsuit which accused Spike Lee of "encouraging a dangerous mob mentality among his Twitter followers, as well as the public-at-large".


In March 2020, a video of Spike Lee was released on Twitter showing the director having an altercation with the security team near the elevators at Madison Square Garden.


Speculation arose as to whether Spike Lee was being removed from the building.


Spike Lee is welcome to come to The Garden anytime via the VIP or general entrance; just not through our employee entrance, which is what he and Jim agreed to [Monday] night when they shook hands.


Spike Lee stated he wouldn't attend the rest of the games for the season.