Born on March 20, 1957, Spike Lee is an American film director, producer, actor and writer. Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of William James Edward Lee III, who was a jazz musician and composer, and Jacqueline Carroll, an educator of arts and literature. He was brought up alongside three younger siblings Joie, David and Cinque. All of his siblings were part of his films one way or the other throughout his career.
Lee made his first student film in Morehouse College named “Last Hustle in Brooklyn”. His Alma Mater also includes New York University (Tisch School of the Arts), where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Television. Additionally he took film courses at Clark Atlanta University.
Lee began his journey with his first feature film “She's Gotta Have It”, shooting the entire movie within two weeks with a budget of $175,000. The movie grossed over $7,000,000 at the U.S. box office when it was released in 1986. He has made a name for himself for creating films exploring challenging topics such as politics, race and violence. In 1989, he made “Do the Right Thing” that looked closely at certain provocative elements, earning him a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. He continued to pursue the controversial nature of his movies with movies “Malcolm X”, “Summer of Sam”, “Mo's Better Blues” and “She Hate Me”, which explored social and political issues. His documentary on the bombing that took place at 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 earned him yet another nomination for Academy Award in 1968. Lee was also involved in television, producing and directing a four-hour documentary in 2006 “When the Leves Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts”. The documentary regarding life in New Orleans after it had been hit by Hurricane Katrina.
Lee was also involved in various projects that include documentaries of Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant along with a remake of the Korean revenge film “Oldboy”. In recent times, Lee made “Chi-Raq” which was the first feature film produced by Amazon Studios. The movie was an adaptation of Aristophanes's “Lysistrata” set in modern-day Chicago. In 2015, Lee received an Honorary Oscar at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' annual Governors Awards.
Throughout his career, Lee got involved with various controversies as he became more prominent in his field and his work and comments were continued to be followed more closely.
Lee and his wife, Tonya Lewis, who is an attorney, had their daughter, Satchel, in December 1994. Their second child was born in 1997, son Jackson. Lee continues to maintain his office in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, while living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with his wife.