Bill Duke is an American actor, film director, founder and CEO of Duke Media (formerly) Yagya Productions – the organization which has under his leader successfully produced film and television series for over 30 years.
Bill Duke Bio
Bill was born William Henry Duke Jr. in the beautiful town of Poughkeepsie, New York, on February 26, 1943, to William Henry Duke Sr. and his beautiful wife Ethel Louise (née Douglas).
Bill attended Franklin D. Roosevelt High School Hyde Park, New York and received his first instruction in the performing arts and creative writing at Dutchess Community College Poughkeepsie.
After graduating from Dutchess he went on to Boston University for further instruction in drama and for his B.A. Bill also studied at the New York University’s Tisch School of Arts and the AFI Conservatory.
Known for his physically imposing frame, Duke’s work frequently dwells within the action film genre as well as crime and drama genres but also includes comedy. He often plays characters related to law enforcement.
He appeared on Broadway in the 1971 Melvin Van Peebles musical Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death.
Bill Duke directed his first TV movie The Killing Floor in 1985.
He directed episodes of several noteworthy 1980s television series, including Hill Street Blues and Miami Vice.
In 1991, he directed his first feature film A Rage in Harlem – a crime drama, then in 1992 the Laurence Fishbourne-helmed, Deep Cover.
He was the executive producer/director of the 1997 movie, Hoodlum.
Over the course of his career, he has been appointed to the National Endowment of Humanities by President Bill Clinton, the Board of the California State Film Commission by Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He served on the Board of Trustees at the American Film Institute and also as the Time Warner Endowed Chair in the Department of Radio Television and Film at Howard University.
Duke won a NAACP Award for Special Award for Outstanding Achievement in 1991 and in 2014 received a Lifetime Achievement Tribute from the Directors Guild of America.
In 2008, Bill Duke established The Duke Media Foundation as a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation. The Duke Media Foundation provides media training for grade school and high school children in conjunction with the Educating Young Minds not-for profit learning center.
Bill is also extensively involved with the United Nations UNAIDS mission to eliminate AIDS globally
Bill Duke Family
As mentioned above, Bill’s parents are Ethel Louise Douglas and William Henry Duke Sr. He is married to Sheila Moses but no child has been linked to him.
Bill Duke Wife
Bill Duke is married to an American writer Shelia P. Moses – whose subjects include comedian Dick Gregory and The Legend of Buddy Bush. In 2004, she was nominated for the National Book Award and named the Coretta Scott King Honoree for “The Legend of Buddy Bush” In 2009, her novel “Joseph” was nominated for the NAACP Image Award.
Bill Duke Siblings, Brothers
Bill Duke has a sister Yvonne Duke Hampton. Bill has no brothers.
Bill Duke Net Worth
Bill Duke is currently worth as much as 2 million dollars.
Bill Duke Wiki
With a height of 6′ 5 Bill is one of Hollywood’s tallest men.
Bill admitted in an interview that his height was one of the obstacles he faced at the beginning of his career.
He said: “Well, in those days being 6 feet 5 inches tall, dark skinned, and a black male, they saw you as a bad guy from the start for the most part. You got pegged as a criminal who was dark and dangerous and threatening. It was not easy to get roles in that climate, so I always made sure that I did things and took roles to show my humanity and not my restrictions.”
Asked in an interview something about him his fans might not know, Bill said:
“I’ve been meditating for close to 40 years now. I used to be a drug head in the early ‘70s on the streets of New York and a friend introduced me to transcendental meditation and it saved my life. I meditate every day and it’s been a blessing. Meditation saved my life.”