Melvin Van Peebles

Director, Screenwriter, Actor
Though primarily known as a director, the multi-talented Melvin Van Peebles also distinguished himself as an author, theatrical director, actor, and even Wall Street trader. But it was his breakthrough film, "Sweet ... Read more »
Born: 08/21/1932 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Actor (42)

Breaking the Rules 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

Peeples 2013 (Movie)

Grandpa Peeples (Actor)

Redemption Road 2011 (Movie)

Elmo (Actor)

Freakonomics 2010 (Movie)

Melvin Van Peebles (Narrator)

American Swing 2009 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha 2009 (Movie)

Edwin, Doofus and Ex-Doofus (Actor)

The Black List: Volume Two 2008 - 2009 (TV Show)

Actor

Blackout 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

Sex: The Revolution! 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

The Hebrew Hammer 2003 (Movie)

Sweetback (Actor)

Jim Brown: All American 2002 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Antilles-sur-Seine 2000 (Movie)

(Actor)

Smut 1999 (Movie)

(Actor)

Classified X 1998 (Movie)

(Narrator)

Love Kills 1998 (Movie)

Abel (Actor)

Riot 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Stephen King's The Shining 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

In the Heat of the Night 1989 - 1990, 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Living Single 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Time of Her Time 1996 (Movie)

(Actor)

Panther 1995 (Movie)

Cynical Jail Bird (Actor)

Terminal Velocity 1994 (Movie)

Noble (Actor)

Last Action Hero 1993 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Posse 1993 (Movie)

Papa Joe (Actor)

Boomerang 1992 (Movie)

Editor (Actor)

True Identity 1991 (Movie)

Taxi Driver (Actor)

Making "Do the Right Thing" 1989 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Satchmo: The Life of Louis Armstrong 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Voice

Sonny Spoon 1987 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Jaws: The Revenge 1987 (Movie)

Mr Witherspoon (Actor)

O.C. & Stiggs 1987 (Movie)

Wino Bob (Actor)

America 1986 (Movie)

(Actor)

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song 1971 (Movie)

Sweetback (Actor)

Blackout (Movie)

(Actor)

Calm at Sunset (TV Show)

Actor

Dream On (TV Show)

Actor

Fist of the North Star (TV Show)

Actor

Gang in Blue (TV Show)

Actor

Taking Care of Terrific (TV Show)

Actor

The Sophisticated Gents (TV Show)

Actor
Writer (19)

Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha 2009 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Baadasssss! 2004 (Movie)

(from book: "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song") (Source Material)

Bellyful 2000 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Bellyful 2000 (Movie)

(Source Material (from novel))

Classified X 1998 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Panther 1995 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Panther 1995 (Movie)

(Source Material)

Panther 1995 (Movie)

("Blowing in the Wind") (Source Material (from novel))

Vrooom, Vrooom, Vrooom 1994 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Day They Came to Arrest the Book 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Writer

Down Home 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Writer

Greased Lightning 1977 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Don't Play Us Cheap 1971 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Don't Play Us Cheap 1971 (Movie)

("Don't Play Us Cheap") (Play as Source Material)

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song 1971 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Story of a Three Day Pass 1966 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Sunlight 1957 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Three Pickup Men For Herrick 1957 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Just an Old Sweet Song (TV Show)

Screenplay
Director (12)

The Outer Limits 1989 - 1991, 1994 - 2002 (Tv Show)

Director

Bellyful 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

The Big Room 1989 - 1991, 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Director

Vrooom, Vrooom, Vrooom 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Identity Crisis 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

Don't Play Us Cheap 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

Watermelon Man 1970 (Movie)

(Director)

The Story of a Three Day Pass 1966 (Movie)

(Director)

Sunlight 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

Three Pickup Men For Herrick 1957 (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (10)

Bellyful 2000 (Movie)

(Co-Executive Producer)

Classified X 1998 (Movie)

(Yeah Inc) (Executive Producer)

Panther 1995 (Movie)

(Producer)

Vrooom, Vrooom, Vrooom 1994 (Movie)

(Producer)

Identity Crisis 1990 (Movie)

(Producer)

Don't Play Us Cheap 1971 (Movie)

(Producer)

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song 1971 (Movie)

(Producer)

Sunlight 1957 (Movie)

(Producer)

Three Pickup Men For Herrick 1957 (Movie)

(Producer)
Music (8)

Bellyful 2000 (Movie)

(Music)

Classified X 1998 (Movie)

(Music)

Vrooom, Vrooom, Vrooom 1994 (Movie)

(Music)

Don't Play Us Cheap 1971 (Movie)

songs("Some Days It Seems That It Just Don't Even Pay to Get Out of Bed" "Break That Party" "8 Day Week" "Saturday Night" "I'm a Bad Character" "You Cut Up the Clothes in My Closet Full of Dreams" "It Makes No Difference" "Quittin' Time" "Ain't Love Grand (Song)

Don't Play Us Cheap 1971 (Movie)

(Music)

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song 1971 (Movie)

(Music)

Watermelon Man 1970 (Movie)

(Music)

The Story of a Three Day Pass 1966 (Movie)

(Music)
Editor (5)

Vrooom, Vrooom, Vrooom 1994 (Movie)

(Editor)

Identity Crisis 1990 (Movie)

(Editor)

Don't Play Us Cheap 1971 (Movie)

(Editor)

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song 1971 (Movie)

(Editor)

Biography

Though primarily known as a director, the multi-talented Melvin Van Peebles also distinguished himself as an author, theatrical director, actor, and even Wall Street trader. But it was his breakthrough film, "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" (1971), that venerated him to generations of filmmakers and fans of the blaxploitation movement he spawned while making him an iconic figure within the African-American community. Though none of his subsequent directing work had a comparable impact to "Sweetback," Van Peebles remained visible as an actor and director with a variety of film and television projects while taking a detour down Wall Street as a successful trader and municipal bonds manager in the mid-1980s. While he returned to directing with films like "Identity Crisis" (1989) and the politically-charged "Panther" (1995), which was attacked by critics on both the left and right, Van Peebles was unable to duplicate past success. Nonetheless, he remained an iconic presence in films by a younger generation of black filmmakers: Van Peebles' career as a director was less important for its artistic finesse than for the fact that his grittier-than-Hollywood portraits of black America somehow made it through the system despite institutional and societal roadblocks.

Relationships

Father

Maria Marx

Wife
mother of Mario Van Peebles white

Megan Peebles

Daughter

Mario Peebles

Son
eldest child

EDUCATION

Ohio Wesleyan University

Delaware, Ohio 1953

attended graduate school in Holland; studied astronomy

West Virginia State College

Institute, West Virginia

Milestones

1995

Produced (with Mario Van Peebles), scripted (from his unpublished novel) and appeared in "Panther", a controversial fiction film about the rise of the black Panther Party for Self Defense

1994

Produced, directed, scripted, edited and scored "Vrooom, Vrooom, Vrooom", a German-produced erotic fantasy short

1993

Directed by his son as an actor in "Posse", a largely black Western

1990

Directed an installment of "The Big Room/Carry a Big Schtick", a stand-up comic's showcase on Ha! TV Comedy Network

1989

Returned to feature directing after 17 years to helm "Identity Crisis", a broad farce scripted by and starring Mario Van Peebles (also edited and acted)

1989

Provided the voice of Louis Armstrong for "Satchmo: The Life of Louis Armstrong", a presentation of PBS's "American Masters"

1988

Played the recurring role of Mel, the bartender father of Mario Van Peebles on the quirky detective series, "Sonny Spoon"

1987

Wrote the teleplay for "The Day They Came to Arrest the Book", a presentation of "CBS Schoolbreak Specials", based on Nat Hentoff's young adult novel

1983

Worked on Wall Street as options trader on the American Stock Exchange in the 1980s (formed own municipal bonds firm in 1987)

1979

TV acting debut, "The Sophisticated Gents" (also scripted, associate produced and wrote the song "Greased Lightning); shelved for two years and aired in 1981

1978

Reworked "Just an Old Sweet Song" into an hour-long pilot entitled "Down Home" for MTM

1977

Wrote the screenplay for "Greased Lightning", a biopic starring Richard Pryor as Wendell Scott, the first black racecar driver

1976

TV writing debut, scripted and wrote title song for the TV-movie pilot, "Just an Old Sweet Song", for MTM Enterprises

1972

Broadway debut as producer, director, writer, "Don't Play Us Cheap"

1972

Produced, directed, wrote screenplay adaptation, edited, scored, and wrote songs for "Don't Play Us Cheap", the film version of his Broadway show; except for benefit screenings in 1972, shelved for 18 years

1970

Directed, scripted, edited, scored, financed and starred (his feature acting debut) in the controversial exploitation cum art film, "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song"

1969

First US feature as director, "Watermelon Man" (also co-composer)

1968

Recorded first album, "Br'er Soul"

1968

Feature film directing debut, "La Permission/ The Story of a Three-Day Pass" (also writer, co-composer with Mickey Baker)

1964

Debut as stage writer, lyricist and composer, "Harlem Party" (first produced in Belgium)

1958

Made short films, "Sunlight" and "Three Pick-Up Men for Herrick" while earning living as cable car grip and post office employee in San Francisco

1957

Lived in Mexico where he worked as a portrait painter (date approximate)

Served as a navigator and bombardier in the US Air Force Stategic Air Command for three years

Lived in Holland and France; in Paris, worked as crime reporter and began writing novels (in French)

Music video directing debut, "Funky Beat"

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