About

Bill Duke
Executive Producer/Director

With a wide range of credits to his name in almost every film discipline, including directing, producing, acting and writing, Bill Duke has founded Duke Media, formerly Yagya Productions, which has been in existence for approximately twenty years.  For three years, Mr. Duke served as the Time Warner Endowed Chair in the Department of Radio Television and Film at Howard University in Washington, DC.  He was then appointed to the National Endowment of the Humanities by former president Bill Clinton. Mr. Duke has also been appointed to the California State Film Commission Board by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mr. Duke now serves on the Board of Trustees at the American Film Institute.

Recent Acting Credits:

2005        “The Go Getter”, Fillmore, LLC
2005        “Battle Star Galactica, Sci-Fi Channel
2005        “X-Men 3”, Fox
2005        “Yellow”, Independent Film
2005        “Get Rich or Die Trying”, Paramount Pictures

Recent Film Feature Directing Credits:

2005        “Miracle’s Boys”, Noggin-Network

Mr. Duke continues to perfect and display his expertise as director, actor and producer.  Mr. Duke recently performed in the role of Amos in an ABC pilot entitled Karen Sisco.  He has also directed episodes and acted in the hit TV show Fastlane starring Bill Bellamy.  Bill Duke has taken on socially conscious, educational and mind-stimulating projects, such as Deacons for Defense, directed by Mr. Duke, about a group of World War II veterans, starring Forest Whitaker, Jonathan Silverman, and Ossie Davis; and Partners of the Heart, a documentary about a young black man named Vivien Thomas who trained the major heart surgeons that graduated from John Hopkins University.

Mr. Thomas was responsible for the training of these surgeons while only having a high school education.  In addition, Mr. Duke recently directed an episode of Michael Mann’s all digital episodic drama, CBS’s Robbery Homicide.

Mr. Duke fuses the worlds of music and film together in a long-form music video entitled Angel starring DMX and Mary J. Blige.  His other recent directing efforts include the pilot for A&E television film, The Golden Spiders, starring Maury Chaykin and Timothy Hutton, two episodes of the UPN drama Legacy, and an episode of the acclaimed series, City of Angels.  Mr. Duke recently completed some co-starring roles in the following projects: Never Again with Jill Clayburgh, Exit Wounds with DMX and Steven Segal, Foolish with Master P and Eddie Griffin, The Limey with Peter Fonda, Fever with Henry Thomas, Walter Mosley’s Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned with Laurence Fishburne, Payback with Mel Gibson, Blackjaq with Nia Long, and John Landis’ Susan’s Plan with Dan Akroyd, Nastassja Kinski and Billy Zane.  He also directed and executive produced the $35 million dollar Harlem drama, Hoodlum featuring an ensemble cast that included: Laurence Fishburne, Vanessa Williams, Tim Roth, and Andy Garcia.

The diversity of Bill Duke’s career has been growing steadily in scope since the beginning.  In the film world, Duke made an auspicious directorial debut with the Killing Floor, starring Damian Leak and the late Moses Gunn.  He followed with A Rage in Harlem, based on Chester Himes’ celebrated novel, starring Forest Whitaker, Gregory Hines, Danny Glover, and Robin Givens.  He went on to direct the emotionally harrowing action drama Deep Cover, starring Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum; the romantic comedy The Cemetery Club, starring Ellen Burstyn, Olympia Dukakis and Diane Ladd; and the hit sequel Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Lauryn Hill.

Mr. Duke has been especially successful in television, receiving a Cable ACE Award for his direction of “American Dream:  The Boy Who Painted Christ Black.”  He also directed the pilot for the critically acclaimed Fox series “New York Undercover,” which starred Malik Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo.  In episodic television, he directed award-winning segments of “Cagney and Lacey” and “Hill Street Blues”, as well as episodes of rating giants such as “Knot’s Landing,” “Dallas,” “Falcon Crest” and “Miami Vice.”

Bill Duke has also directed several award-winning, high-profile dramas and two teleplays for PBS, which received an NAACP Image Award nomination: “The Meeting” and “A Raisin in the Sun,” which also earned Duke an Emmy nomination.  His direction of The Killing Floor for American Playhouse garnered a total of 10 awards from film festivals across the globe and was chosen to compete in the Critic’s Week of Judging (Director’s Fortnight) at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.

Although Mr. Duke’s work behind the camera has expanded into every conceivable genre, he has continued to be a presence in front of the camera.  Duke has been seen in memorable roles, including American Gigolo opposite Richard Gere, Predator and Commando, opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bird on a Wire opposite Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn.  He received an NAACP Image Award nomination for his role in Action Jackson and had a starring role in the highly praised Alex Haley television series “Palmerstown, USA.”

Mr. Duke’s talents and credits also extend into publishing.  In 1994, he completed Black Light: The African American Hero, an inspiring photo essay celebrating 90 of the greatest black heroes of the 20th century through whom the depth and achievements of the African American experience are illuminated.  His last book, The Journey, a book for people of all ages, was published in August 1997.

Just as Mr. Duke finds it essential to explore every aspect of his talent, he also believes in sharing his talent with the community.  He has devoted much of his time to work with non-profit and charity organizations, like Education Young Minds, an organization that helps inner-city students, ages 5-18, excel at school and at life since 1987. With “home-study” instruction during the day, after-school tutoring, and basic skills and standardized test preparation classes on Saturdays, Educating Young Minds is a vigorous program that serves students who are considered under-represented or at high risk in our society.

In April of 2004, Mr. Duke accepted an appointment to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Film Commission, which works to enhance the economic climate of the state by keeping film industry jobs in California.  He was appointed alongside of Danny DeVito, Clint Eastwood, Tom Werner, and Lili Zanuck.

Bill Duke is a native of Poughkeepsie, NY and was educated at Boston University and NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned his MFA.  He began his career directing off Broadway plays, including the New York Shakespeare Festival’s production of “Unfinished Women,” for which he won the 1974 Adelco Award.  He then went on to study for two years at the American Film Institute.  His AFI student project, a short film called The Hero, earned him the Lifetime Achievement Award as Best Young Director and subsequently the Gold Award at the Houston International Film Festival.

Bill Duke is now producing and directing independent projects and content for multiple platforms.  These projects serve to focus on morality and redemption and emphasize cultural history and family values.

EDUCATION:

M.F.A.                   American Film Institute, School of Fine Arts, Film and Directing

M.F.A.                   New York University, School of the Arts, Acting and Directing

B.A.                        Boston University, School of Fine Arts, Directing and Acting

A.A.                       Dutchess Community College, Arts Degree

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

FEATURE FILM DIRECTING CREDITS:

2005        “Miracle’s Boys”, Noggin-Network

2003        “Deacons for Defense”, Showtime

1997        “Hoodlum”, MGM, United Artists

1996        “The Boy Who Painted Christ Black”, HBO (won Cable Ace Award)

1994        “Deep Cover”, New Line Cinema

1993        “The Cemetery Club”, Touchstone Pictures, Disney

1993        “Sister Act 2:  Back In the Habit”, Touchstone Pictures, Disney

1991        “A Rage in Harlem”, Miramax

1985        “The Killing Floor” PBS

PRIMETIME TELEVISION DIRECTING CREDITS

Feature Films / Movies:

“Maximum Security” (Pilot), HBO

“Raisin in the Sun”, PBS Television

“The Johnny Gibson Story” (Movie of the Week), CBS Television

“Brewster’s Place”, ABC Television

“The Meeting”, PBS Television

Television Episodes:

“1-800-Missing”, Lifetime Network

“Fastlane”, FOX Television

“Robbery Homicide Division”, CBS Television

“Strong Medicine”, Lifetime Network

“New York Undercover” (Pilot), FOX Television

“The Outsiders”, FOX Television

“Crime Story”, NBC Television

“Twilight Zone”, CBS Television

“Hill Street Blues”, NBC Television (multiple episodes)

“Starman”, ABC Television

“Cagney and Lacey”, CBS Television (multiple episodes)

“Amen”, CBS Television

“Matlock”, NBC Television

“Dallas”, NBC Television

“Knots Landing”, NBC Television

“Call to Glory”, CBS Television

“Falcon Crest”, CBS Television (multiple episodes)

“Fame”, ABC Television

“Miami Vice”, NBC Television (multiple episodes)

“Flag” (Pilot), NBC Television

“Heartbeat”, ABC Television

“Hunter”, CBS Television

“Tour of Duty”, CBS Television

“Trauma Center”, NBC Television

“Flamingo Road”, NBC Television

ACTING CREDITS:

2005        “The Go Getter”, Fillmore, LLC

2005        “Battle Star Galactica, Sci-Fi Channel

2005        “X-Men 3”, Fox

2005        “Yellow”, Independent Film

2005        “Get Rich or Die Trying”, Paramount Pictures

2003        “Karen Sisco”, ABC Pilot

2003        “National Security”, Columbia Pictures

2003        “Fastlane”, FOX

2002        “R.U.S.H.”, CBS

2002        “Red Dragon”, Universal Pictures

2001        “Exit Wounds”, Warner Bros.

2001        “Never Again”, USA Films

2000       “Book of Love”, Artisan

2000        Who Killed Atlanta’s Children”, Showtime

1999        “The Limey”, Artisan

1999        “Fever”, Lions Gate Films

1999        “Foolish”, Artisan

1998        “Susan’s Plan”, Kushner-Locke International

1998        “Payback”, Paramount Pictures

1998        “Blackjaq”, NBC

1998        “Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned”, HBO

1993        “Sister Act 2:  Back In The Habit”, Disney

1993        “Menace II Society”, New Line Cinema

1990       “Bird on a Wire”, Universal Pictures

1988       “Sans Espoir De Retour/Street of No Return”

1988       “Action Jackson”, Orion/Warner Home Video

1987       “Predator”, American Entertainment Partners

1987       “No Man’s Land”, Orion Pictures

1986        “Dallas: The Early Years”

1985        “Commando”, Fox Pictures

1980        “Palmerstown, USA”, CBS

1980        “American Gigolo”, Paramount Pictures

1978        “Love Is Not Enough”

1976         “Car Wash”, Universal Pictures

WRITING CREDITS:

Episodic:

1979 – “Good Times” Episode – Cousin Raymond, CBS Television

Plays:

1970   - “Sonata”

Publications:

1993        Black Light, Thunder’s Mouth Press

1996        The Journey A Tale of Human Healing, Yagya Publications/

M-Promotions, Inc.

COMMERCIAL DIRECTING CREDITS:

“Burger King”

“Crest Toothpaste”

TEACHING EXPERIENCE:

Mr. Duke has taught and lectured at numerous Universities domestically and internationally including the following:

New York

University, School of Arts

Negro Ensemble Company

Department of Radio, Television and Film, Time Warner Endowed Chair

Henry Street Settlement Playhouse, New York

Gene Frankel Theater, New York

Colorado College

Boston University, School of the Arts

Lincoln University

Howard University

Clark Center, New York

PANELS AND LECTURES:

Dutchess Community College

New York University

University of California, Los Angeles

University of Southern California

Clark University, Atlanta, Georgia

Milan, Rome (speaking and dramatic presentation)

Paris University

Lincoln University

Colorado University

Howard University

AWARDS AND HONORS:

1998  AWARD    Friends of the Black Oscar Nominees, Award of Special Recognition for Outstanding Film, “HOODLUM”.

1998  AWARD   Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Drum Major for Justice Film Award.

1998  AWARD   World Literary Crusade, Crusader Award.

1997  AWARD    ABET Pioneer Award.

1996  AWARD    City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Certificate of Commendation in recognition of Youth N’ Play.

1996  AWARD    Cable ACE Award, Directing a Dramatic Special or Series, “AMERICA’S DREAM”:  “THE BOY WHO PAINTED CHRIST BLACK”.

1995  AWARD     Networkers Award.

1994  AWARD    Par Excellence Award for Distinguished Director and Filmmaker.

1994  AWARD    The Frank Award, Gordon Parks Filmmakers Award.

1993  AWARD    M.E.N.T.O.R. Network, Outstanding Achievements in the Community.

1993  AWARD    Movieguide, included in “The Ten Best Family Films of 1993″, “SISTER ACT 2: Back in the Habit”.

1991  AWARD    Black America Cinema Society, Star Bright Award.

1991  AWARD    NAACP Award, Special Award for Outstanding Achievement.

1990  AWARD   Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, Inc.

1990  AWARD   Ohio State Award, Achievement of Merit, “THE MEETING”.

1987  AWARD   Los Angeles Black Media Coalition, Best Director.

1980  AWARD   Phi Beta Sigma Frat, Outstanding and Dedicated Service.

1979  AWARD   Dutchess Community College, Alumnus of the Year Award.

1974  AWARD   Olympic Festival of Arts, Grand Prize for “DREAM ON MONKEY MOUNTAIN”.

AWARD              Delco Award for best Drama.

AWARD              Best Director Award and numerous other awards, “THE HERO” (1ST short film).

FILM FESTIVALS PARTICIPATED IN:

Tokyo International Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival

Acapulco Film Festival

Belgium/Antwerp Film Festival

American Black Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival

APPOINTMENTS:

California State Film Commission Board

Educating Young Minds, Board of Directors

Board of Trustees American Film Institute

Member of National Endowment of Humanities (Bill Clinton)