Bill Duke is an American actor, film director, founder and CEO of Duke Media (formerly) Yagya Productions – the organization that has been successfully producing film and television series under his leadership for over 30 years.
Bill Duke Bio
Bill was born on February 26, 1943, in the beautiful city of Poughkeepsie, New York, as the son of 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 lessons in the performing arts and creative writing at the Dutchess Community College Poughkeepsie.
After graduating from Dutchess, he went to Boston University, where he continued to study acting, and also studied for his B.A. Bill at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts and the AFI Conservatory.
Duke is known for his physically imposing figure and his work is often in the action film genre and the crime and drama genres, but also includes comedy. He often plays characters related to law enforcement.
He appeared on Broadway in 1971 in the Melvin Van Peebles musical Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death.
Bill Duke directed his first television movie The Killing Floor in 1985.
He directed several notable television series of the 1980s, including Hill Street Blues and Miami Vice.
In 1991, he directed his first feature film A Rage in Harlem – a crime thriller – then in 1992, the Deep Cover, which was overwhelmed by Laurence Fishbourne.
He was the executive producer/director of the 1997 film Hoodlum.
Throughout his career, he was appointed to the National Endowment of Humanities by President Bill Clinton and to the Board of Directors of the California State Film Commission by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute and also served as the Time Warner Endowed Chair in the Department of Radio, Television, and Film at Howard University.
Duke won an NAACP Award for Special Achievement in 1991 and received a lifetime achievement award from the Directors Guild of America in 2014.
In 2008, Bill Duke established the Duke Media Foundation as a not-for-profit corporation under 501(c)(3). The Duke Media Foundation provides media training for elementary and high school children in conjunction with the nonprofit Educating Young Minds learning center.
Bill is also extensively involved in the United Nations’ UNAIDS mission to eliminate AIDS worldwide.
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 is connected with him.
Bill Duke Wife
Bill Duke is married to the American writer Shelia P. Moses – her themes include comedian Dick Gregory and The Legend of Buddy Bush. In 2004 she was nominated for the National Book Award and was named 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 doesn’t have brothers.
Bill Duke Net Worth
Bill Duke is currently worth up to $2 million.
Bill Duke Wiki
With a height of 6′ 5 Bill is one of the tallest men in Hollywood.
Bill admitted in an interview that his height was one of the obstacles he faced at the beginning of his career.
He said: “Well, at that time, being 6’2” and dark skin and a black man, you were mostly considered a bad guy from the beginning. You were considered a criminal who was dark and dangerous and menacing. It wasn’t easy to get roles in this climate, so I always made sure I did things and took roles to show my humanity and not my limitations.
Bill is active on Twitter with 19,800 followers and also on Facebook.
In an interview he was asked if his fans knew anything about him, Bill said:
“I have been meditating for almost 40 years now. In the early 1970s, I was a drug lord 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 was a blessing. The meditation saved my life”.