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Bill Duke is the Godfather of Black Hollywood

Bill Duke
Photo by Frederick M. Brown

Legendary Hollywood actor and film director Bill Duke has earned the nationwide reputation as the Godfather Of Black Hollywood.

Duke, founder and CEO of Duke Media, has been successfully directing and producing film and television spanning over 30 years.

Duke Media has become an international leader effectively utilizing innovative modern technology that balances media juxtapose with the film industry and the internet.

The “Edutainment” mission goal of Duke Media profoundly entertains and educates audiences worldwide

Duke received a Lifetime Achievement Tribute from Directors Guild Of America.

Duke is a graduate of Boston University with a B.A. degree in Drama. After furthering his dramatic studies at the prestigious New York University’s Tisch School Of The Arts, Duke was critically acclaimed for his stage performance in Tony Award winning playwright Melvin Van Peebles’ Black classic 1971 Broadway musical “Ain’t Supposed To Die A Natural Death.”

Duke had a brief starring role in the critically acclaimed 1980-81 television series “Palmerstown USA,” produced by Norman Lear and the late “Roots” author Alex Hailey. Although “Palmerstown USA” won an Emmy Award, the television series was cancelled after 17 episodes.

The 6’4 ½” Black actor, featuring the famously clean shaved head, presents a physically imposing image on the movie screen.

Duke delivered a powerful and impactful performance in the 1976 dramatic comedy “Car Wash,” where the Poughkeepsie, New York native skillfully portrayed a rebellious Black Muslim militant named Abdullah Mohammed Akbar.

Duke further expanded his legendary Hollywood character roles as a Black gay pimp in the 1980 film “American Gigolo.”

Duke has skillfully exploited his 6’4 ½” imposing screen image as a Hollywood “tough guy,” alongside legendary Hollywood action hero and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1985 film “Commando” and 1987 film “Predator,” respectively.

In fact, former California Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Duke to California State Film Commission Board.

Duke played a Police Chief in Carl Weathers’ 1988 featured movie “Action Jackson” and Steven Segal’s 2001 film “Exit Wounds.

The versatile Hollywood actor Duke also played a corrupt law enforcement agent opposite two Mel Gibson movies: “Payback” (1988) and “Bird On A Wire” (1990).

However, Duke played a no nonsense detective investigating a brutal murder in the Hughes Brothers 1993 classic Hollywood movie “Menace II Society.”

The legendary Hollywood actor delivered the famous classic movie line, “You done f_ _ _ _ _ up, you know that don’t you?”

Duke began to refine his skills and talents behind the camera, and developed himself as a much sought after television director.

Duke became a renowned television director of several TV episodes, such as “Cagney And Lacey” (1981), “Fame” (1982), “Hill Street Blues” (1984), “Miami Vice” (1984), “Spencer For Hire” (1985) and “Matlock” (1986).

Subsequently, Duke established himself as a legend in Black Hollywood by directing “A Rage In Harlem” (1991), “Deep Cover” (1992), “The Cemetery Club” (1993), and “Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit” (1993).

Duke has unequivocally earned a national reputation as a Hollywood power broker with an uncanny ability to “green light” any film of his choice by making Hollywood movie executives an “offer they can’t refuse.”

The talented and versatile actor and director has become the official “Godfather Of Black Hollywood.”

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