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Van Peebles, Melvin (1932–)

film baadasssss directed illinois

AN PEEBLES, MELVIN (1932–). Filmmaker, actor, writer. Born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Phoenix, Illinois, Van Peebles attended Wesleyan University, graduating with a BA degree in English literature in 1953. He spent several years in the U. S. Air Force as a flight navigator before relocating to San Francisco, where he began to make films. With several films in the can, including Three Pickup Men for Herrick , 1958, Van Peebles headed for Hollywood. After a series of rejections, he moved to Holland and became involved with the Dutch National Theater. He later relocated to Paris and wrote several novels while transitioning back into filmmaking. His film Story of a Three Day Pass garnered critical success when it premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Now that he had Hollywood’s attention, he was hired to direct Watermelon Man , and later wrote, produced, and directed the highly successful Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song , the film credited with giving birth to the so-called blaxploitation era of filmmaking during the early 1970s. His stage plays Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death and Don’t Play Us Cheap , had long runs on Broadway but received mixed reviews from the critics. The latter won first prize at a Belgian Theater festival, and his teleplay The Day They Came to Arrest the Book won him an Emmy Award. Working with his son Mario Van Peebles, he directed Identity Crisis , 1990, a film written by and starring Mario. They again teamed up to produce Panther , 1995, based on the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party.

Filmography: Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song , 1971; Sophisticated Gents , 1981; O. C. and Stiggs , 1987; Boomerang , 1992; Posse , 1993; Terminal Velocity , 1994; Fist of the North Star , 1995; Riot in the Streets , 1996; Gang in Blue , 1996; Calm at Sunset , 1996; Love Kills , 1998.

Van Rensselaer, Mariana Alley Griswold (1851–1934) - Popular History [next] [back] Van Horne, Mahlon(1840–1910) - Diplomat, consul, Educator and Minister, Chronology, Emerges As Civic and Political Leader

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